back to article Apple iWatch due in October 2014, to wirelessly charge from one metre away – report

Apple's long-rumored iWatch will be released in October 2014, and will come equipped with a magnetic-resonance wireless charging system that will allow the wristable iDevice to be charged from as far as one metre away. This latest rumor comes from G 4 Games, which spotted a report (Google Translate) in the Chinese-language …

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  1. Nick Kew Silver badge

    When I were a lad ...

    Back in the 1970s, I had a wristwatch that wound itself up using energy from the motion of my wrist. Altogether more convenient: I never had to think about it. IIRC it was my inheritance from my grandfather.

    That was back in the days when watches were beautifully luminous. Before that fell victim to hysteria about radiation (and someone noticed that luminous watches emitted far higher levels than were permitted to the nuclear power industry, so only the atomic weapons folks could dispose of them).

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: When I were a lad ...

      You can still buy wristwatches with tritium markers, but the tritium is usually contained in tiny glass vials on the hands and hour markers. The half-life of tritium is such that your grandfather could read the watch in the dark, but you probably can't. In addition, the radiation degrades the phosphorescent material into dust, which isn't good for the watch mechanism, or for anyone who services it without a fume cabinet.

      T Swiss Made T

      1. Haku

        Re: When I were a lad ...

        I bought a couple of those Traser Glowrings some 13-15 years ago, they're still glowing but as the half-life of the tritium is 12.3 years they've lost over half their brightness.

        Bought them as unique novelties and at a pub one day showed a friend them they thought they were cool but his dad was seriously not happy about me having them and wouldn't go near them.

        They're now stuck either side of a lightswitch so I can always find it in the dark.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When I were a lad ...

      "Back in the 1970s, I had a wristwatch that wound itself up using energy from the motion of my wrist."

      That would do for adolescent males, what about everyone else ?

      1. You have not yet created a handle
        Facepalm

        Re: When I were a lad ...

        My Automatic winding watch gains 10-15 minutes a month.. Must be over-winding it

      2. Lallabalalla

        Re: When I were a lad ...

        I still have one, and am getting another soon as I quite fancy a diver's style watch (Seiko SK007 or similar) as I like the idea of actual clockwork, er, clocks. Never needs a battery, self-winding, and surprisingly accurate. Not as accurate as my solar-powered quartz seiko which doesn't need batteries either, but within a minute or two is good enough for me.

        Now then, that "designer's impression" picture: It's round. OK. So who has a perfectly round wrist? Nobody. Fail...

    3. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: When I were a lad ...

      @Nick

      My Omega does that too, my general movement during the day easily keeps it going, and it lasts for about three days if I forget to wear it.

      A quick word if you still have yours, and I have no idea how true this, is but when I last had it serviced the chap told me that should it "go flat" start it by winding rather than rotating. Apparently the mechanism will take less damage that way.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When I were a lad ...

      Even if you don't want a smart watch - at least if Apple do it then it will be done well rather than that Samsung monstrosity they hurried out. Wireless charging up to 1m away sounds good.

    5. LarsG

      The end of the Cold War

      Get the opposing forces to think you have better technology so that they spend themselves into a corner playing catch up. Distribute rumours and innuendo so that they devise technology for a market that doesn't exist.

      Then announce to the world you are not pursuing such technology.

      Watch as the opposition have bankrupted themselves at the bottom of a dead end alley.

  2. Tromos

    Battery data meaningless

    100mA. At what voltage and for how long?

    1. DougS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Battery data meaningless

      1.21 jiggowatts, of course!

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Battery data meaningless

      Oops. The h was missing. Should be mAh.

      C.

  3. DougS Silver badge

    One meter charging is a bit more useful

    If your keyboard could act as a charger, it could top off your watch and the phone in your pocket while you work since both are within a meter of it, that would take care of the workaholic issue of running your phone dry before the end of the workday.

    I suspect an Apple watch would not include a charging port and wireless will be the only way to charge it. The wireless charging solution may finally find the problem it has been looking so hard to find!

    Hopefully the charger can be made very compact, because no one is going to want to bring something bulky with them when they travel. That no one wants to bring a charging mat with them when they travel is one of the (several) reasons wireless charging has been a flop so far.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: One meter charging is a bit more useful

      >If your keyboard could act as a charger

      The Reg reported on an Apple patent about a year ago for magnetic charging, including daisy chaining and a way of switching between which device to charge first (i.e prioritise a phone over a mouse or keyboard).

      The Reg has also reported on Apple patents for a micro-deflection control surface that looks like aluminium, but can be used as a display thanks to tiny perforations.

      Add to that their investment in sapphire manufacturing, and the ingredients for a smart watch are coming into focus.

      1. Ted Treen

        Re: One meter charging is a bit more useful

        Little perforations??

        I await a patent lawsuit filed by the Tetley Teafolk...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One meter charging is a bit more useful

      If you happen to work in a boring office job chained to your key board then great, but many of us have much more fulfilling jobs and lives that keyboards are only a minor feature in them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One meter charging is a bit more useful

      "Hopefully the charger can be made very compact, because no one is going to want to bring something bulky with them when they travel. That no one wants to bring a charging mat with them when they travel is one of the (several) reasons wireless charging has been a flop so far."

      The wireless charging option exists now, i use it daily. Most people are not bothered or totally unaware the it exists because Apple haven't released their copy yet. Of course once they do, their cult will snap it up.

      Doesn't shine a positive light on consumers as a whole.

  4. Andrew Jones 2

    With all the exploding devices going around at the moment, I'm not sure how I would feel about a potential bomb on my wrist - and as the article notes - Samsung may be joining the foray - but I don't think I'd trust Samsung enough to wear anything of theirs just now.....

  5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Just add crystals for healing

    So what is "magnetic resonance"? Sounds appropriately Guru Level for Apple.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Just add crystals for healing

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resonant_inductive_coupling

      It's effectively a tuned transformer with a large (and variable) air gap between primary and secondary. The idea is to improve the power transfer efficiency compared to a non-tuned gapped transformer; though it would be nowhere near as efficient as plugging a power cable in. For such small levels of power and bearing in mind the application, that isn't really a consideration.

      1. Number6

        Re: Just add crystals for healing

        I was doing that several years ago. Horrendously inefficient as you increase the distance though.

    2. Pet Peeve

      Magnetic Resonance

      It's a Tesla thing, isn't it? If it's what I'm thinking, you need a stupidly high voltage to make it work.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just add crystals for healing

      "Just add crystals for healing

      So what is "magnetic resonance"? Sounds appropriately Guru Level for Apple."

      Wrong! Hardly Guru when wiki can tell you.

  6. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    iWatch ? I cannot believe

    Listen, watches are old-school, vintage crap we used to have to wear so we could see what time it was. Since the 90's we have had cellphones to do that.

    Who in their right mind wears watches^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hchronographs these days ? Showoffs and pedants. My mobe syncs with internet time, guyz ... no swiss mech is gonna beat that, -period-

    Who would want a tech watch apart from gadget freaks ? Right, so I cannot believe Apple are going that route, I mean, Samsung have made idiots out of themselves with their sCrapWatch, why would Apple follow - Apple are leaders, not followers.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      >Who in their right mind wears watches^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hchronographs these days ?

      People who don't want to fumble in their pockets every time they wish to know the time.

      People who wish to turn their phones off, from time to time.

      People at work who need to time an operation, but don't want a manager to think they're texting their friends - or reading The Reg.

    2. Andrew Newstead

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      Wristwatches came in because pulling a pocket watch was too much hassle in a busy environment. Pulling a phone out my pocket is just as inconvienent when I'm busy and I think a lot of people find that. I don't use a chonograph (not even digital), just a plain "old-school" watch that shows the date as well as time. Much more convienient than fumbling in my pocket and pressing buttons to find out the time or date.

      As for "tech-watches", not my cup of tea but who knows.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

        I'm seeing the same old arguments for smartwatches. Wrist watches succeeded pocketwatches! As if we all still need regular updates about the time whilst carrying a rifle...

        A device strapped to the wrist might be slightly more convenient for telling the time but a smartphone is still more convenient for everything else that you'd expect a smartwatch to do.

        Most people are willing to accept the slight inconvenience of pulling a smartphone out of their pocket to read the time because of all of the other conveniences it provides. A few people will wear a dumb-watch because they're of a generation that grew up wearing them or they're in a job that doesn't allow for phones (such as the military,) but most just won't bother.

        Very few people of my generation wear wristwatches. Adding a bunch of features that are duplicates of those provided by their smartphone and are executed less well is not going to convince them to shell out several hundred quid for a smartwatch.

        Your downvotes, much like your tears, are delicious.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

          "Very few people of my generation wear wristwatches. "

          Son, every generation wants to distinguish its self from those gone before.

          You are no different! Like it or not.

          "Most people are willing to accept the slight inconvenience of pulling a smartphone out of their pocket to read the time because of all of the other conveniences it provides."

          But what if all I want to know it the time? I have to go fishing for 00's tech to look for the time. How Dickensian. Next you will be extolling the virtues of the spy glass.

          Just NO!

          Anyway, A smart Rolex sitting on the wrist says alot more that a toll roads iPhone!

          1. Fibbles

            Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

            "But what if all I want to know it the time? I have to go fishing for 00's tech to look for the time. How Dickensian. Next you will be extolling the virtues of the spy glass."

            Wear a £4.99 Casio if you simply must save the second or two that pulling your phone out takes. Like it or not, most people just don't bother carrying around a second device for that small saving of time.

            I'm still at a loss as to how being slightly more convenient for telling the time is going to make smartwatches the next big thing.

            1. Vic

              Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

              > most people just don't bother carrying around a second device for that small saving of time.

              Reference?

              Because pretty much everyone I meet wears a watch...

              Vic.

        2. Nuke
          Holmes

          @Fibbles - Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

          Wrote :- "Most people are willing to accept the slight inconvenience of pulling a smartphone out of their pocket to read the time [as opposed to glancing at a wrist watch] because of all of the other conveniences it provides."

          I must be unusual then. I have a wristwatch AND a phone, so I get all the conveniences added together. Should I patent the idea?

        3. John Gamble
          Childcatcher

          Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

          Very few people of my generation wear wristwatches.

          Really? A lot of my friends are unaware that you're their spokesman, then -- I've been getting questions about my watch, because people of your generation got tired of pulling out their phone to check the time.

          Your downvotes, much like your tears, are delicious.

          Ah, passive-aggressive hipsters, how predictable you are.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      >Right, so I cannot believe Apple are going that route, I mean, Samsung have made idiots out of themselves with their sCrapWatch, why would Apple follow [?]

      There were mobile phones before the iPhone, and MP3 players before the iPod.

      The iPhone is an interesting case, since it is telling what Apple left out - 3G. If they had included 3G, the battery wouldn't have lasted long enough to be practical, and bad press would have followed. This was mitigated by having an app to fetch, for example, train times, which more data-efficient than having the user hunt down the same information on a browser.

      Samsung's smartwatch has taken the 'throw everything in it' approach - it can even run normal Android apps -but it doesn't really know what it is for. Apple are likely to focus in on a few core applications - simple alerts and media remote control, perhaps - and then expand the capabilities over time as improved chips and batteries allow it.

      Oh, and a geek watch doesn't have to look like a geek watch. Tissot make a model with thermometer, compass and barometer which is indistinguishable from a a normal 3-hand wristwatch; touching the face at 12, 3, 6,or 9 causes the hands to display that information instead of the time.

      1. Lallabalalla

        Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

        " Tissot make a model with thermometer, compass and barometer which is indistinguishable from a a normal 3-hand wristwatch; touching the face at 12, 3, 6,or 9 causes the hands to display that information instead of the time."

        Wish I could afford one of those!

    4. cambsukguy

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      Gadget freaks who want to have an idea of elevation (for instance) without worrying about their phone running out of power or being lost or broken or stolen.

      Sometimes this stuff matters.

      Also, knowing the time quickly and without fuss is worth lugging less than an ounce around, locked, safe on the hand, waterproof, in the shower, available at night without fumbling, okay to peek at in the cinema, especially since the battery lasts years not hours.

      Jesus wept, when did having a wristwatch - a brilliant development saving people from having to reach into their pockets all the time - become so old-fashioned?.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

        "Jesus wept, when did having a wristwatch - a brilliant development saving people from having to reach into their pockets all the time - become so old-fashioned?."

        When Apple cultists started to realise that it might be true, Apple not as innovative as they were suckered into believing and Apple is just a cult! That's when!

        These fashionistas who are far to fashionable to used a watch. A specific piece of tech designed solely for the purpose of not having to pull a device from the pocket to see the time.

        Glass would allow you to see the time at all times! No lifting your wrist or fishing in your pocket like a Dickensian.

    5. King Jack Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      Using a cell phone as a time piece is emulating a pocket watch from the '30s and it uses up one hand. Using a wrist watch is hands free. People with brains and who do not try to be 'trendy' use watches. The watch I wear is atomic/radio controlled, it has a solar cell so never needs batteries or charging ever. Just slap it on your wrist and forget about it.

      1. Havin_it
        Trollface

        Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

        >People [...] who do not try to be 'trendy'

        >The watch I wear is atomic/radio controlled, it has a solar cell

        ...And yet, somehow, I bet you spend rather more time telling people all about your watch than most of us do. Whether they asked or not.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

          >Wristwatches came in because pulling a pocket watch was too much hassle in a busy environment.

          Specifically the trenches of WWI

          However the idea of attaching my phone to a gold chain and removing it from my waistcoat pocket to consult it through my monocle is appealing

          1. Philip Lewis

            Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

            I wear a reference 5712/G-001 because it is an exquisite piece of watchmaking, and because I can.

            ... end of this pointless threadlet

    6. Vic

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      > Who in their right mind wears watches^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hchronographs these days ?

      My watch is waterproof. Even without iOS7.

      That's pretty handy when I go diving...

      Vic.

    7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      "Listen, watches are old-school, vintage crap we used to have to wear so we could see what time it was. Since the 90's we have had cellphones to do that."

      So you'd rather have an inconvenient "smart" pocket watch than a convenient wristwatch? How quaint.

    8. Number6

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      Now if I could have a Thunderbirds video watch (remember them? Good old 60s technology) I'd probably go for it. Otherwise I just rely on my internal clock most of the time, which is usually accurate to within 15 minutes and is good enough for most things. If I really need a more accurate reminder then yes, the phone in my pocket can be told to alert me at the correct time. I haven't worn a watch for many years, ever since the battery in it went flat (and the watch itself is 30 years old.)

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

        >Now if I could have a Thunderbirds video watch (remember them?

        Vaguely... though I suspect I saw it on the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore Thunderbirds spoof in 'Not Only But Also...' It looked a bit like the Holly Wristwatch from Red Dwarf, IIRC (now that was a smartwatch - it had an IQ of 6000!)

        Searching Google for Thunderbirds Watch just returns pictures of Rolexes customised in celebration of a USAF outfit.

        1. Vic

          Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

          > now that was a smartwatch - it had an IQ of 6000!

          Well, there's a 6 in it. But it's not 6000...

          Vic.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      Hans, Hans, Hans, Hans...

      Do please try to grow up and stop being a childish twat.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      "Listen, watches are old-school, vintage crap we used to have to wear so we could see what time it was. Since the 90's we have had cellphones to do that.""

      Sad youth! No wonder they have a poor rep.

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iWatch ? I cannot believe

      "Apple are leaders, not followers." - posted in 2007!

      Can't be (nearly) 2014!

  7. VinceH Silver badge

    Optional

    "But we can't help but quiver in dread if Apple and Samsung both bring devices to market that use magnetic resonance charging technology. The patent-infringement lawsuits could be depressingly tedious, indeed."

    If Apple and Samsung both bring out any devices with any similarities at all the patent infringement lawsuits could be depressingly tedious.

    And given the areas they operate in, that is pretty much inevitable. If they were two schoolkids squabbling, you could give them a good telling off and make them apologise and shake hands, but they'd still walk away muttering, and by tomorrow they'd be squabbling again.

  8. Stratman

    Now where have I seen that clock face before?

    A copyright case where Apple came second

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