Apple experimenting with solar charging screen for iWatch

Apple is exploring new battery tech for its much-anticipated smartwatch, including motion charging and wireless charging

If smartwatches are going to become essential accessories, they have to deal with the thorny issue of battery life.

Apple is aiming to overcome that hurdle by packing its much-rumoured iWatch with innovative charging technology – which could include a flexible solar charging screen, according to the New York Times.

Sources "close to the efforts" have revealed that Apple has been working on an iWatch screen with a solar charging layer – though the technology is reportedly some way off being a practical reality. Apple has already filed patents for a solar charging screen, while Alcatel has shown off its own solar charging screen technology.

READ MORE: Apple iWatch preview

Apple is working on other charging methods for the iWatch; it has experimented with wireless inductive charging similar to that found in some Nokia Lumia smartphones. A 2009 patent reveals that Apple has also experimented with motion charging, using the kinetic energy of the wearer's swinging arm to top up the iWatch's battery.

Battery life is the single biggest challenge faced by wearable tech manufacturers – where the Pebble smartwatch has got around the issue by keeping things simple, more sophisticated smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear require daily charging.

If Apple's planning to bring an innovative, feature-packed iWatch to market, it needs to crack the issue of how to keep it charged for long periods of time – and we may have some time to wait before we can wrap it around our wrists.

[New York Times via The Next Web; iWatch render by Martin Hajek]

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