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It looks like Watch battery life is still a problem Apple can’t easily fix

Published Aug 19th, 2016 8:10AM EDT
Apple Watch 2 Specs
Image: LWYang

One of the things we expect Apple and other device makers to fix in the coming years is battery life. We want more juice, but without compromising on features, especially when it comes to smartphones and wearables, devices that can’t house generous batteries. A new report detailing the features of the Apple Watch 2 reveals that Apple is yet to fix battery life for its next-gen wearable, and the company will ditch a feature that some users want: cellular connectivity that would give the device more independence.

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That doesn’t mean Apple isn’t making any progress when it comes to battery life. The company managed to offer the same or better battery life quotes for the iPhone while adding more intelligent features to the smartphones, and making it thinner and thinner. The next-gen Apple Watch will offer new features as well, but battery life is preventing Apple from making significant upgrades.

According to Bloomberg, carrier partners want a cellular version of the Apple Watch, one that could connect to their networks without requiring the presence of the iPhone. Such a device would be able to download data and notifications right over cellular, and even provide support for calls.

However, current chips that handle cellular connectivity draw too much battery power, which would hinder the overall experience. Apple executives have decided to push back the feature for a later generation, as, even on an aggressive schedule, shipment for cellular models would have been this December.

Apple will still launch a new Apple Watch version this fall, the report says, as it continues to study lower-power cellular chips for future smartwatch generations. Apparently, the company’s ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for a connection between the iPhone and the Apple Watch, a person familiar with the company’s goals said.

The Apple Watch 2 would have new features compared to the first-gen device, including support for GPS, that would offer users more accurate fitness tracking and better navigation.

Improvements to health tracking are also due, the report says, though it’s not clear whether this has anything to do with hardware. Apple already announced at WWDC 2016 a slew of improvements for its health-related Apple Watch features that are coming to all Watches via a software update this fall.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.