Apple is testing a variety of different charging methods for its “iWatch” smart watch project, according to a The New York Times report. At the top of Apple’s list appears to be induction charging, allowing users to recharge their watches wirelessly.
For its wristwatch, Apple has been testing a method to charge the battery wirelessly with magnetic induction, according to a person briefed on the product. A similar technology is already used in some Nokia smartphones — when a phone is placed on a charging plate, an electrical current creates a magnetic field, which creates voltage that powers the phone.
Another test at Apple has involved charging the battery through movement, a method that is already used in many modern watches. A person’s arm swinging could operate a tiny charging station that generates and pushes power to the device while walking, according to a patent filed by Apple in 2009.
The report states that with battery technology improving relatively slowly, Apple has focused on improving power efficiency of several components in its devices, as seen with the latest generation of the MacBook Air.
Other possible features for Apple include solar and movement-based charging, although it appears those may still be several years from becoming reality. The report also notes the newspaper’s claim from last year that the iWatch will feature a curved glass display.
Apple has also experimented with new power-charging methods for a potential smartwatch, people close to the efforts said, though such experiments are years from becoming a reality. The watch is expected to have a curved glass screen, and one idea is to add a solar-charging layer to that screen, which would give power to the device in daylight, they said.
For the iWatch, Apple has been working on flexible new battery designs and looking at new charging technologies, but battery life has reportedly continued to be one of the problems for Apple as it seeks to create a powerful smart watch capable of lasting several days between charges.
Nest co-founder and iPod creator Tony Fadell also said as confirming that Apple had explored solar charging for the iPhone and iPod for a number of years, but the technology proved infeasible due to users storing the devices in pockets and other dark places for extended periods of time.