The new Apple Watch reminds us of the need for better batteries

If I knew anything about batteries, other than how to drain them through excessive use, I’d probably spend all of my spare time trying to figure out how to build a better one.

It’s hardly an original thought, but better batteries remain the key to so much innovation.

Electric cars. Smart watches. Mobile phones. Laptops. True off-the-grid home solar. And more.

I got to thinking about this topic in the past few days with the announcement of the new Apple Watch. It now has built-in cellular network connectivity — but with barely an hour of talk time. And it seems there has been no significant improvement in the non-cellular battery life either.

As an early owner of the Apple Watch, I find many things about it that I like. One thing I don’t appreciate is the battery.

I finally had to give up on wearing the watch at night because otherwise there was no way to get it back to 100% charge. With various Fitbit devices I have used over the years, the capabilities were less, but I could charge during my showers and it would generally never run out of juice.

With the Apple Watch, it doesn’t hold enough of a charge or recharge fast enough to truly wear it around-the-clock.

That’s unfortunate because it removes some of the benefit of having it.

When a 15-minute daily charge is enough to keep the Apple Watch — or any worthy competitor — functioning fully the rest of the day, it will truly become a killer app.

And when batteries become smaller, last longer, and recharge faster, it will open the door to much more rapid innovation in energy-dependent applications and devices.


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