On Sunday, The New York Times published an article regarding Apple’s attempt to create a better battery. Not only does the iPad maker want a power source that will last longer, but plugging in is no longer an option. This morning, Gigaom published an article that suggests that Apple’s new iWatch will be solar powered. Plus, the wearable computer will come stock with a new “Healthbook” app that the company plans to launch in its next big mobile operating system update. Both bits of future technology would be a great addition to the iPad, but will Apple spend the research and development effort to integrated those features in future tablets?
According to the New York Times, Apple’s activities over the past few years points to evidence that the company is trying to design a battery that doesn’t require a stationary position to charge a device.
The idea is that, no one will want a watch or other type of wearable computer if it has to be removed every few hours to recharge the battery. If the power source could charge itself, either through movement (like a swinging arm on a watch), solar power, or even local Wi-Fi, then consumers would be more likely to invest in the device for the convenience.
The Healthbook app that Gigaom refers to was first noted on 9to5Mac. The tech site claims that Apple is working on new software that could measure vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate. The app could be a conduit for users to read data that the iWatch collects. This Healthbook app would purportedly be included in iOS 8.
“Based on the health information that iOS 8 is capable of reading, Apple’s wearable device will seemingly have sensors at least capable of measuring blood pressure, hydration, heart rate, and steps. iOS 8 combined with the iWatch is said to be able to monitor several other pieces of health and fitness data, but additional specifics are not as clear as of now.”
Currently, the iPad houses some of the hardware needed to power the kind of technology the Healthbook app could deploy. For example, the M7 motion coprocessor measures your movement. The fitness sensor could easily be deployed to help you monitor your vitals. If not by you physical actions, the iPad could be used as the companion device for the supposed iWatch.
When it comes to wireless charging. We’ve seen patents in the past from Apple for design ideas that involve charging remotely using either Wi-fi, or some other device that transmits the necessary power over the air. That technology would make it possible for users to charge their iPad without having to do anything other than walk into the room that contains the wireless charger.
While Apple continues research into technology that will power wearable computers, it is possible that such technology will be deployed into other devices as well. Let’s hope so.