For almost two years I’ve carried a Fitbit Zip; Fitbit’s entry-level fitness tracker that runs on a watch battery and lasts a couple months. It has been great and I’ve rarely missed a day.
Recently, through a contest at work, I received a Fitbit Flex, an upgraded model that you wear on your wrist and charge every ~5 days (we’ll come back to that). After three instances where I failed to charge it and it stopped working, it now sits on my dresser, never to be worn again.
Like most nerds, I am excited to see what Apple releases on September 9th (even if it doesn’t ship until some time next year). I trust Apple will create a compelling product that solves a consumer need, makes use of innovative and difficult to replicate manufacturing techniques, and executes with a flawless user experience that will dovetail neatly into my life.
Critical to this execution will be power management; not just how long it lasts, but how you charge it.
Charging the Fitbit Flex required I create a habit with such an odd periodicity (not daily, not weekly) that it didn’t align to anything else I did in my life. Plugging in the devices required prying the tiny device from its rubber sleeve and plugging it into a single-purpose cord (compact for travel, impractical for a bedside table). Moreover, a key selling point of the Fitbit Flex is its sleep-tracking capability–so I can’t charge it at night.
Worse? Motorola’s beautiful new Moto 360 requires a charge twice a day.
So how do you charge an iWatch? I have two theories:
- Unwittingly, continuously. Few companies could design a device whose daily motion would generate enough power to drive something more complicated than a watch (automatic or digital); Apple might be one.
- Wirelessly, conveniently. If the iWatch (/iWhatever) employs wireless charging, then an elegant solution is if the next iPhone could serve as its base station (while itself plugged in).
As I set my watch on my bedside table next to my charging phone, I could easily imagine placing it on top to receive a charge.
To take a step back: it would not be a stretch for the next iPhone to be able to receive its charge wirelessly through induction. Third party solutions exist but the technology would be far more compelling if the capability was built into the device. But if the iPhone could receive a charge I imagine the same antenna could be used to give a charge. When travelling, how great would it be to bring a single charger that accommodates both devices?