Apple Watch Battery Life

Apple has been in a conundrum ever since the Apple Watch’s battery life leaked back in late January. Today, the company officially unveiled the device’s battery life. At 18 hours, the watch should be able to get you through a typical day. However, the way the device was tested and calculated is certainly raising some eyebrows. According to Apple:

Testing conducted by Apple in March 2015 using preproduction Apple Watch and software paired with an iPhone using preproduction software. All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours. Battery life varies by use, configuration, and many other factors; actual results will vary.

The first thing that is likely to stick out is that they calculated only 30 minutes of working out with music playback. Like most, you’re probably wondering: Is this enough? According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2011, the average individual between the ages of 18-64 exercised for 17 minutes a day. This makes the Apple Watch’s battery life very viable for the average adult consumers. However, If you’re a gym nazi, you’re still going to need to bring your iPhone along for those extended workouts.

Teenagers are a different story entirely. The Census Bureau reported that teenagers exercise an average of 41 minutes per day. This isn’t entirely relevant, however, as teenagers are not the target market for the Apple Watch.

The next item on the list is time spent viewing notifications. Is 90 notifications sufficient for most consumers? There are a few different studies that can be cited for this purposes. One study, performed by State University of Campinas, found that the average number of notifications viewed per day was 63.5. If these numbers are accurate, the 90 notifications could be a fair baseline for battery life. However, the study was performed on a relatively small test group of only 15 mobile phones, so this may not be a fully accurate representation.

 A different study performed by Mobile Posse and Phoenix Marketing International indicated that the average number of notifications viewed per day could be upwards of 150! If this study is any indication, Apple’s baseline of 90 notifications viewed is nowhere near sufficient. Without solid statistics, however, the verdict is out on this one. 

As far as whether 90 ‘time checks’ is viable, I did some digging to find the average number of times an individual “views the time” or “checks their watch.” Unfortunately nobody cares, so it doesn’t look like the study has been performed. However, 90 ‘time checks’ definitely seems reasonable in my book. 

Finally, there is allotment of 45 minutes for App usage. This one is tough to baseline as the Apple Watch is a brand new category. We can’t simply compare it to phone usage as its applications are far different from using a phone. You’re much less likely to sit and play Angry Birds on your watch when your large-screened phone is in your pocket. 

Likely, the way you will be interacting with the Apple Watch would start with a notification, lead into opening the app and responding, and then to turning off the watch. If you’re in a situation where you want to sift through your Newsfeed for extended periods, I would hypothesize that most are going to pull out their phones for the larger screen size. If that turns out to be the reality, then 45 minutes of app usage per day is very viable. 

Overall, it seems that Apple’s research and calculations on battery life are relatively spot on. Even with a watch that can last all day, however; the real question is whether we are ready to take on a new device requiring a daily charge. With Apple fans and huge hype behind the Apple Watch, it looks likely. However, the real success indicator will be the outcome of the Apple Watch 2’s release. Time will tell.

What are your thoughts on the battery life of the Apple Watch? Do you think that Apple has done their calculations correctly? Sound off in the comments below.