The Apple Watch promises new functionality from a smartwatch. John dissects the detail behind the power demands of wristwatches, screen types, movement types, GPSs, super-capacitors, batteries and why the Taptic engine could be a big deal.
Welcome to Pragmatic. [Music] Pragmatic is a weekly discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. Exploring the real-world trade-offs, we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. Pragmatic is once again sponsored by LIFX. Visit lifex.co/pragmatic for more information about their amazing LED smart bulbs and to take advantage of a special discount exclusively for Pragmatic listeners. Pragmatic is also sponsored by ManyTricks, makers of helpful apps for the Mac. Visit manytricks.com/pragmatic for more information about their apps, Butler, Kimo, Leech, Desktop Curtain, TimeSync, Usher, Moom, NameMangler and Witch. If you visit that URL you can use the code pragmatic25, that's pragmatic the word and to five the numbers in the shopping cart to save 25% on any ManyTricks product. We'll talk more about them during the show. 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So if you've missed it, go back and listen to it. There is some great stuff in there. I also want to have a quick shout out to Ham and Cheese from the USA for the lovely review on iTunes. It's always appreciated and if you are enjoying the show and you haven't yet reviewed or rated it on iTunes, please feel free to do so at your convenience. No pressure. Alrighty, so without further ado, let's get stuck in. So today I want to talk about the evolution of the watch and what has spurred this off, specifically the wristwatch. What sped us off is the recent announcement a few weeks ago of the Apple Watch. Are you aware of this Apple Watch announcement there, Vic? I think I might have heard a little bit about it in passing. Yeah, maybe in passing? Okay. Well, there you go. The thing is that I... a lot of people would talk about it... It seemed like a minor thing. I didn't... I didn't... I don't know. It was Tim Cook's "One More Thing," wasn't it. So, you know, hands pumping in the air. Yay. One more thing. Don't get me wrong, though. I mean, it looks very impressive, but there's been a lot of talk, punditry, I guess you'd call it, that I've been listening to on podcasts and reading on different websites. And some of it kind of rubbed me out the wrong way because I just- there's some fundamental disconnects that I really want to try and close out. This is not speculation about the Apple Watch. It's not what this is going to be. This is going to be, I want to look at where we, how we got to where we are now and where I think it needs to go, irrespective of whether the Apple Watch does or doesn't do certain things. So, as usual, I'm doing it my way. So if you're looking for predictions or whatever about the Apple Watch, there might be a handful of them, but it's really not the focus of this episode. But then that's never the focus of any episode of Pragmatic. All right. So first of all, Vic, let me start with the perhaps obvious question. Do you own and/or, and importantly, wear a wristwatch regularly? I've owned a few wristwatches, I don't wear one regularly anymore because I kind of just... It's one of those things I got rid of when I started carrying cell phone, smartphone. I always had a timekeeping piece in my pocket anyway, so it just seemed like one extra thing that I didn't need to have on me. Yeah, see that's exactly my story, is I used to love my watch. I had chronograph watches that played really cool melodies and so on and so forth. forth well I thought they were cool but then I mean I would think that the honest truth though is that I found that it was redundant because I had the phone and at that stage I sort of you know gave it away as being unnecessary so anyway okay so what's what's what's the point of that question I guess the point is that we used to wear watches but now we don't because they've been supplanted by the mobile phone. The question is whether or not smart watches can reverse that trend and bring wrist watches back to predominance. I've had a look around when I was on the train over the last few weeks in preparation for this and the number of people that wear wrist watches, it was more than I thought, but it was around about a quarter of the people on the train wore a wristwatch and really statistically that's still a big slice but at the same time that's not as many as I remember when I was like, let's say 20 years ago when I used to wear a watch where it would practically be every person and the person that didn't wear a wristwatch was the exception. Anyway that's anecdotal evidence. All right mechanical watches. So the thing about mechanical watches is they started a long time ago 15th century in Europe actually and they were purely mechanical devices. They used mechanically wound spring to drive the hands. Over winding was a very common problem until they brought in over winding protection mechanisms and all that. And every morning the idea would be that the watch would need to be wound and time synchronized to the town clock, usually in the post office tower or the town hall. But the biggest problem with mechanical watch was was the nonlinear rate of time passing relative to the amount of tension in the spring. Obviously these watches therefore drifted a bit and weren't particularly super accurate. But accurate enough on any given day, it was beyond that they weren't. So anyway, the wristwatch was really first seen in the 16th century and actually Queen Elizabeth, anecdotally anyway, was given one at one stage as a gift. But back then it was referred to as an arm watch, which is interesting, as opposed to a wristwatch, which I guess kind of makes some sense. But anyway, the funny thing I found is that it was actually, it wasn't until the 20th century that wristwatches were worn by men generally, because up until that point they were almost exclusively worn by women as a fashion item as well as a practical item. Because men's fashion leaned towards... - Interesting. was interesting because men's fashion lean more towards pocket watches. So if you look at the period accurate movies, you'll notice that the men of that sort of era would get out their pocket watch. Anyway, so even with centuries of refinement, the mechanical watch still had reliability issues and accuracy problems, gaining or losing multiple seconds day at best, at their best. So not the most accurate timepieces in the world. Close enough for government work, as they say, but obviously room for improvement. Certainly not set and forget items, that's for sure. Okay, so we move to electronic wristwatches. So in 1967, the first electronic wristwatch whose frequency was derived from the vibration of quartz crystal. That was made by CEH in Switzerland. First production watch in 1967, only sold 6,000 units and had less than a year of battery life. I mean, it was, you know, well I would go as far as to say essentially a prototype that they sold. But anyway, what's regarded to be the first really successful quartz movement watch was the Seiko 35SQ Astron and that came out in 1969. The thing is that even the cheapest quartz kids watch today is 10 times more accurate than any mechanical watch. So that's just to give you an idea of the difference in accuracy. And by 1978 Seiko watches were essentially topping five years of battery life. That's sort of approaching the shelf life of a battery which is pretty much the standard expectation in wristwatch battery life ever since that point so we sort of expect we'll have to replace the battery in our watches you know every four or five years you know it's pretty standard I think at least that was my expectation anyway and I don't and I think that's pretty standard there's a few watches out there that claim... sorry? Does that accuracy thing does that hold true to even today's modern mechanical watches? Yes. Okay. Yeah, the problem is with mechanical watches is that the thermal expansion and contraction, very very small subtle differences in temperature affect the rate at which it basically releases its energy and therefore the time between ticks and so on. There's all sorts of balancing and counterbalancing and all sorts of really cool ingenious ways they've come to reduce that but you can't eliminate it. Whereas vibrating quartz will always resonate at whatever frequency it always resonates at and therefore you know it's a constant. Yeah it's that's not temperature dependent or rather if it is temperature dependent it's very very small given the temperature variations that you would see on a typical day for the average user. So I mean mind you it's still nothing compared to an atomic clock but that's another story. I'm I'm trying to stay mainstream here so we'll stick with the mainstream stuff because believe me if I were to talk about every kind of watch that was ever designed and built good god I would literally be here for weeks. Because yeah if you can imagine it it's been tried it's been tried so I'm just trying to stick with the mainstream ones. The thing is though got me thinking about electric watches in originally with quartz because quartz you needed to have a battery and that's what's in use today's majority of. watches are quartz movements. Now the interesting thing is that there actually was for a while, well sorry, there was actually, I should say not for a while, but before that there were electric analog watches, so kind of like an electric mechanical watch. So no, they're not wound mechanically but they are still a mechanical watch. So those battery-powered ones, the first one that was released, well, that was, you know, essentially was very popular was the Hamilton Electric 500. And that was back in 1957. And it was notable because it was very favored by Elvis Presley apparently. I'm not a big Elvis fan, I'm just saying, I'm not a big Elvis fan, but apparently so. So the idea of never having to want a watch is very appealing. But a lot of the early models had problems and you know had to go back for repair. The battery life was terrible, it was about 12 months. So very similar to the first quartz watch actually, the CEH one watch. Now I did a bit of digging on this one, because I was curious to see how much power these things actually consumed. So going back to that particular model, the very first model, one year battery life. Getting information on the existing battery is difficult. So the original battery was a 201, and nowadays it's replaced by a silver oxide 387S. Now that particular one is a 1.55 volt, which is a pretty standard watch voltage. 12 milliamp hour cell, when, and that's basically fitted to a 500, it'll get done somewhere between 10 to 14 months of use in a Hamilton Electric 500. So for those that aren't aware of some of the terminology, just milliamp hours, milliwatt hours, I'm gonna switch between those quite a bit during the episode. So milliamps is amps divided by a thousand, so thousandths of an amp, which is a measure of how many electrons go past coulombs of charge. And what you do is you multiply that by the number of hours. If I'm drawing one milliamp for a period of one hour, that is one milliamp hour of capacity charge, whatever you want to call it. Milliwatt hours or watt hours, the same kind of thing except not for current but for power and power takes into account voltage because power is equal to voltage times current, P equals Vi. So you can express charge, the problem is that voltages of batteries will be different. Therefore in order to have an accurate comparison, high voltage, lower current for the same amount of power transfer, so what you want to do is you need to account for the voltage. So I'll talk a little bit about current when I'm talking about the battery definition but then I'll switch across to talk about milliwatt hours because that's more, that's universal and takes out the voltage out of the equation. Okay, so if we work backwards from that and assume that the consumption is constant over that period of time, which is not true, you know, but we're going to assume that it is because obviously batteries degrade with time and as you draw more out of them the efficiency is reduced therefore you'd get less power draw out of them it sort of a falls off the curve sort of falls off towards the end and it also dips a lot at the beginning as well and every kind of battery is slightly different I've probably mangled that description but let's just say it's not linear but let's assume for the purpose of discussion that it's linear. So in that particular case Hamilton Electric 500 using a 387s silver oxide battery which a modern battery, we're looking at about 2.1 micro watts of power consumption continuous. Micro watts, that's one millionth of a watt of power consumption, which is not a lot at all. So anyway, keep that number in mind, we'll come back to it later. Okay. Okay, so next thing that's interesting is digital watches because that's the the next thing you want to be interested in. Well, I say you want to be interested in. They actually first came out in the 1920s and it sounds odd that you would have a digital mechanical watch but it's true they actually did have them such that as the time passed the the minutes would click past as a series of numbers. So it was the whole idea of the round dials, right? So you'd have two round dials and there'd be a cutout on the mechanical face of the watch and it would simply click over from you know zero all the way around to nine on each side. Well zero to nine on the right for the minutes and zero to six from the left for the tens of minutes or tens of hours. So digital watches actually from that point of view from their watch face have actually been around since 1920s and the original popular one was I think it was a French one I think it's pronounced "Courteveu". But Hamilton actually once again same company made the digital clock that featured in 2001 a Space Odyssey and when I say the digital clock not wristwatch I mean the digital clock and when they did that especially for the movie it sort of inspired them to join Forces with Electrodata at the time, another company at the time, and they developed the first digital LED wristwatch and it was called, they called it the Pulsar and that was in 1972, it had a red LED display and I remember distinctly because it was featured in a 007 movie in Live and Let Die. So, if you remember Live and Let Die, if you're a bond nut like, yeah, if you're a You're a bond nut like me. You'll know that that was the one that he looks at when I think he's in the cupboard or in the bedroom or something like that. He's being interrupted by M coming in to send him out on his mission. Jeez, that sounds so dicky when I say that, but anyway, it's true. But yes, and he very quickly swaps it for his beautiful, shiny new Rolex, which has got the magnetized, the super magnets in it the you know the cutty spinny dial disc thingy I don't know what else to call it and that's super technical term but yeah so he swaps it out for that watch and he ditches the he ditches the Pulsar how could you do that? Anyway so there you go so he switches to the Rolex but he briefly had on that the Pulsar watch so that's sort of yeah you see him push the button and the red numbers come up very cool. Anyway, now the problem with this particular watch is that it had it required a bit more of a higher voltage and it actually used two 355 batteries. The problem is that it's battery life and why I'm not going to dig too deep into it although the 355 battery is once again 1.55 volts that's it's much much higher capacity 240 milliamp hour silver oxide and there were two of them so you that's a reasonable amount of grunt there in terms of power. So, it only lasted between 9 to 24 months and the reason that it was so variable is because it depended on how often you pushed the button, because the numbers didn't light up unless you push the button. So, if you just lifted your wrist up to have a look at the time, it'd be blank, you have to push the button to see the time. So, obviously, as awesome and cool as it was for 1972, and it was four years before I was born, two years, I think, before you were born, is that right? - Yep. - That was ultra futuristic, super cool, goddamn awesome. Unfortunately, from a practicality point of view, it kind of sucked. So, the next step was to move away from LED watches because LEDs just draw way too much power for a wristwatch and that's when LCDs sort of became popular. They came out around about the same time and they really did take off because they were cheaper, they were always on and they had a much better battery life compared to LED watches even though they were continuously on. The only downside with them was if you had polarized glasses like sunglasses it makes them more or less impossible to read which you know is sucks but apart from that you know it was a pretty rainbow on it yeah I guess that's a feature but anyway so it was been very very hard and I was researching trying to find power consumption for LCDs but I did find one particular model which is a 5 by 9 segment and it consumed 550 nano amps so that's one billionth of an amp that's for the LCD Obviously there's a lot more powering a digital watch including you know CPU, RAM, clock, whatever else, other stuff they've got on there. You know it's sort of, well not CPU, I said CPU, I meant RAM and real-time clock and a few other bits and bobs, right, backlight probably, so you can read at night time. Because of course you can't have phosphorescence on an LCD and that's what they did with analog watches is they put phosphorescent indicators. So during the daytime time they would essentially, there were two types, there were types that would essentially be activated by sunlight and then after hours they would glow in the dark and you could tell the time in the dark on the hands and they had other ones that were radioactive all the time. And I think tritium was quite popular for a while but it was also expensive so it didn't really last, it had a half-life of like 10 years and tritium being tritium, it's kind of you know hard to come by expensive stuff so you know. One of the great things about Tritium though is that because the, uh, it's radioactive decay was not capable of penetrating the glass on the front. So you don't have to worry about getting any kind of exposure if you held your watch up to your face or whatever. I was going to ask about that. Yeah, no, it's not like, it's not like cobalt or anything crazy, you know. So anyway, um, right. So yes, uh, so the backlighting and all that. So all of those are different things, you know, would will consume more than 550 nanoamps But the point is that it's considerably less than the LEDs. So anyway Ultimately though that was stuck with what they called the nine segment I sort of mentioned this nine segment display because if you have nine segments arranged in in the figure eight You can make it make it look like any number you want from zero to nine Which made that obviously very appealing But you're restricted you can only you know make that as sorts of words. Or of course if you're you know creative and hold upside down I think you can make boobs and a few other words. But anyhow let's not focus on that. The truth is that it was meant for displaying the time and only the time. If you want the ultimate in flexibility your display needs to be pixelated. In other words you know made of discrete pixels that you can turn on and off in distinct patterns. Obviously that draws a lot more power, but that's inevitably where this discussion is going to go. But before we do, I'd just like to talk briefly about our first sponsor, and that's ManyTricks. So, ManyTricks is a great software development company, whose apps do, well, you guessed it, many tricks, as their name suggests. Their apps include Butler, Kimo, Leech, Desktop, Curtain, TimeSync, Usher, Moom, NameMangler, and Witch. There's so much to talk about for each app that they make, so we're just going to touch on some of the highlights of four of them. So with Witch, you should think about Witch as a supercharger for your command tab app switcher. which is great for and is very popular with ex-Windows users like me. If you've got three or four documents open at once in any one app, then with which is beautifully simple pop-up quickly lets you access exactly the one you're looking for. 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Simply use Pragmatic25, that's Pragmatic the word and 25 the numbers in the discount code box in the shopping cart to receive 25% off. This offer is only available to Pragmatic listeners for a limited time, so take advantage of it while you can. Thank you once again to Manitrix for sponsoring Pragmatic. Okay, so I want to talk a little bit more about screens and then it's going to be time to talk about the other little things like, oh I don't know, batteries and charging these things. So let's look at smartwatch screens. So in terms of pixelated screens to where we left off just before the ad, and if we look at an iPhone 5 screen, power consumption at full brightness, it's 0.74 watts. Now display technology is getting better all the time and that amount of power is reducing slightly with each passing year, but not huge amounts. So if we assume that the size to power ratio is linear, which it may not actually be linear but for the sake of this discussion I think it's useful to think of it as being linear. So the iPhone 5 screen is 6.7 square inches and that works out to 4,323 square millimeters. Now we don't have exact dimensions on the Apple Watch but based on the photographs we know that it's 42mm is one dimension, therefore relatively we can guesstimate that 37mm is the other dimension. So that gives us 1554mm2, which is 36% of the size of an iPhone 5 screen. So if it's linear, we relate that back to the power, it works out at 0.26 watts, or 260 milliwatts if you prefer. So that's how much it's going to take to drive that screen at full brightness. Now obviously that's going to be the basis of a lot of the rest of the show, is that figure. I do realize and acknowledge, put my hand up right now, that yes indeed that is full brightness and full brightness does not necessarily mean you're going to have full brightness all the time. If you're indoors you're not going to need full brightness. If you're outdoors though you will. So it's going to be a balance, obviously, perhaps this is a worst case scenario, but either way as we'll see the numbers not so unrealistic when we work through the figures they're doing the uh... i'd like the way they're doing the uh... where it switches off and on automatically to raise your wrist absolutely and and that's why that's the next component of this so let's assume that we're awake and wearing a watch for thirteen hours of the day so if you take out nine hours of sleep you know a few hours of mucking around getting dressed undressed having a shower whatever the heck you do don't need to know 13 hours a day, we're going to run with that as our figure. Now that could be less than that. Many people will be, some people will be less than that. Other people will be more than that. Some people only sleep one hour a night, especially if they've got young kids, who knows? Assuming in an average hour that we're going to have the screen on for just five minutes. Now that is the next biggest leap in assumptions. And how I sort of come up with that is if you think about how you use your phone, I thought about how do I use my phone? I have this problem with, I have this problem, where I keep checking my phone for messages. And I know I'm not the only person that has this problem, but there you go. So you'll pull the phone out of your pocket, turn on the screen, check the messages, scroll up and down a little bit, maybe respond to one or two, lock the phone, put it back in your pocket. You might do that, and that whole process might take, if you glance and there's no messages, you'll be in and done in five seconds. The screen is lit for five seconds and then it's off again. But if there's a message, it could be up to a minute. So if you sort of average that out in a given hour period, I think five minutes is a reasonably, reasonable sort of average number to go with. So, yeah, that's checking, that's getting a message maybe once every 10 minutes or so, maybe once every 12, 15 minutes, something like that. And the occasional check where you've got no messages. So if you assume the same kind of usage for your watch, checking the watch or checking the time on your watch, where it'll only be illuminated for about three or four seconds as you raise your wrist to look at the time and then drop your wrist again when you're done, then I think five minutes in total out of an hour is probably reasonable. Obviously, there'll be people that use it more and there'll be people that use it less, but let's just run with that. Do you think that sounds reasonable enough? - I do. - All right, cool. So if you use that, So 13 hours, five minutes an hour at 0.26 watts. It works out at 282 milliwatt hours. Now that's just for the screen alone. That's how much power you need to reserve in a battery to drive the screen in any given day. So 282 milliwatt hours. Now compare and contrast that with the power consumption required to run one of those mechanical watches in a day. It's enormous compared to that, huge. - Very significant. It's yeah, very significant. And that's just the display. That's none of the rest of the electronics. No radios, no nothing else. That's it. None of that other stuff, just the screen. So it got me thinking, well, obviously that's, why would you use a screen like you've got in the iPhone 5? And I guess the answer for this is that, well, we know Apple. I mean, I know Apple and I know why Apple tends to work. And they like their display technology the way they like it, which is high retina, like what they call retina or retina HD, high DPI, very bright, reasonably good performance outdoors in sunlight. You're the sort of thing that they will say, well, you know, we want to have the best looking display and we will, and we'll make the battery adequate. And that's, and that's, that's their approach, which, you know, I understand, but then you look at other people like, you know, Amazon and they use E-Ink for their displays and their Kindles. Qualcomm have developed a display called the Mirasol, which is still, I think there's an EO that watches out there that uses a Mirasol display. These ones offer a lot better performance, but there's other trade-offs like refresh rate and obviously the resolution, although recently Amazon just released a high-resolution E-ink display for their Kindles for the paper light I believe. What's it called? Voyage? No? Something like that yeah. Yeah Voyage, Voyager, I don't know. In any case my point is that there is advancement going on there but the refresh rate will always be an issue as well as depth of color. So ultimately the display technology sort of is beyond the scope this episode. I mean, probably make a good topic for a future episode, but we'll flag that and come back to that one day. But for the purposes of discussing smartwatches, the vast majority of smartwatches that have come out on the market so far, and I'm not talking about the Pebble, the vast majority of the ones like the Galaxy Gear, Motorola 360, and the shortly upcoming Apple Watch, they do not use any of those technologies. They use an LED based technology, LCD based technology. They do not use Mirasol or E-ink. So that's all I'm going to say about them. So let's talk about charging these things shall we? Yeah. And the reason that I wanted to talk about this is that I've heard people say "well why don't they just insert magical device here and it'll all work. And I started to shake my head and I'm like okay well here's why. So let's start by talking about the two big ones that I want to talk about are kinetics and solar power. Kinetics, oh I just love kinetics. It's such a cool idea. What I didn't realize, because I've always you know I've heard of the Seiko kinetic watches and I've always been fascinated with the idea and my grandfather had a had a kinetic watch which had issues but anyway that's fine. It's actually self winding watches or automatic watches with their original names before you know Seiko. I think I think I'm not sure if it was Seiko that coined the term kinetic but in any case automatic and self winding watches but not necessarily wristwatches dated back to late 1770s. They didn't become popular or mainstream until John Harwood in 1923 designed his particular self-winding watch. It didn't actually go into production until 1928. He struggled to get someone to make it but it was a Swiss watchmaker called Fortes or Forte. I figured how it's supposed to be pronounced. Unfortunately, Harwood's company went bust in the Great Depression. Alas, and that was the end of that watch because it was a joint venture with with that Swiss watchmaker. But the idea behind these watches if you're not sure how they work is that they have an off-center weight that spins around as the watch moves. So it's around an axis and that winds the mainspring for a mechanical watch. Now that's all well and good for a mechanical watch but when it came to quartz movements you need electricity. So the idea there is same thing off-center weight on a shaft that's geared up a few hundred times There are micro gears, really tiny gears that wind that up. And what that does is that creates a pulse, electrical pulse through a coil. And that's electrical charge that's generated from that is stored usually in a rechargeable battery or a capacitor, sometimes referred to as a super capacitor or super cap for short. And then that is used then to either drive the physical hands or to, There are a handful of digital ones as well, but the vast majority of kinetic watches Seiko kinetics are the mechanical hands Now the original Seiko kinetic watches used super caps and they were marketed as being no battery. Yay Batteries are the enemy right go kinetic now They're designed to run the watch for 72 hours without any movement And the idea was I imagine is that you want to last the weekend So you go to work five days a week, take the watch off, you don't wear your watch on the weekend, you come back on Monday, it's still going, you don't have to adjust the time. At least that would be my presumption. If it's a dress watch. Yeah, exactly. I mean, it's a dress watch, right? So if it turns out that you're wearing it once a week, so much for that, right? You'll be setting a time, shaky, shaky the wrist, and then you can go for a walk. So, yeah, I know. So the problem with it, as it turns out, is that super caps proved to be less reliable than they would have liked. Maybe it was the technology at the time. I think perhaps it was, but irrespective, since then, the majority of kinetic watches have gone to lithium batteries, rechargeable ones, technically they're lithium titanate batteries. And the problem of course with that is that, well, I thought we were trying to get away from batteries and now we're adding batteries. So, okay, no matter how you look at it, rechargeable batteries are gonna need replacement eventually 'cause we all know batteries suffer from memory effect and eventually they just stop holding charge. So there's a whole bunch of issues. Every battery technology that's rechargeable inevitably, eventually will die. It'll break down and die. There is no such thing as a battery that lasts an indefinite period of time. Theoretically, a supercapacitor should, but it doesn't either because supercaps have got insulation and yeah, they could corrode and they don't last forever either. They usually start swelling and bulging, don't they? You're thinking of electrolytics and yes, in the case of electrolytics, yes, but not all super caps are electrolytics. Some of them will be maybe tantalums or all sorts of other different materials. But yeah, irrespective, you'll get leakage, you'll get decay because, you know, things age with time. You know, it's the whole, when I was a kid before I knew anything or knew much, Except how to be loud that sort of idea that I know I'll park the car for a year and then because I'm not using it it'll be fine I'll just be able to start the car again right sure Of course, you know, you get older and you realize, well, hang on a minute, if I don't run the engine, then seals will dry out. The rubber is still going to deteriorate with time because the rubber is going to age. So they'll go all powdery and crack. And so then my tires will have it, will have had it. And then my, you know, the battery will go flat. Even if you disconnect it, it'll discharge. So, you know, time moves forward, things deteriorate, you can't stop it. So once you build anything, it starts to deteriorate. Oh well, that's that's the entropy for you. Anyway, so rechargeable batteries are still going to need replacement. Now, the other interesting thing about kinetic watches is that as people drive more places and they walk less and they sit at desks all day long, there's a lot of questions surrounding whether or not there's actually enough movement that goes into keeping it. Yeah, to actually keep that watch going at a good level of charge. So So the problem is if you're doing, because obviously what you want to do is you want to top the charge up and keep it relatively well charged. You know, relatively. You don't want to run it fully flat. You don't want to overcharge it by running all the time, let's say. How much movement does it typically take for those? I mean, like if you're sitting at your desk moving like between your keyboard and things you're working on, is that enough movement to generate it at all? or does it need to be like your arms swinging at your side as you walk? Okay, the problem is with that one is it's hard to find data on that but all of the data is related to walking. So if you think about the way the mechanism works, I would suggest you need more movement to get much benefit. So you need to be walking, I think, to get most benefit out of it. This is the problem, is that what happens is people will say, okay, here's the scenario. I go and buy a kinetic watch and I sit at my desk, I have a desk job all day long, I go to a meeting, I sit in a meeting for hours a day, I go downstairs to the basement, I get in my car, I drive home, basement, parking lot, car park, whatever, station mall, whatever, and I drive home, I get home, I sit down, I read the paper, whatever, I'm not doing a hell of a lot of movement. And then my kinetic watch keeps on losing time and then I'm like, "Stupid kinetic watch, this thing's a piece of garbage." Well, that's actually not a piece of garbage. You're just not moving enough. So this is the issue. So, all right. How much goes into it is, because people have different usage patterns and lifestyles, then the reports of the longevity of a rechargeable kinetic watch battery will vary very, very, very wildly between three to eight years. Because obviously, if you're not using it enough, not charging it consistently, then you're gonna kill the battery in it. The rechargeable battery will simply die because it's been mistreated. But there's no real way for you to get a handle on that other than being mindful of how much you move around because there's no real feedback mechanism. Some of the kinetic watches have a little button you can press to give you an idea of the relative charge, but that's, you know, doesn't really help that much because you've got to keep track of how often you're charging and discharging it. It's a lot more obvious with a phone that's got a constant battery indicator and you know when you charged it and you disconnected it, you know when you plug it in to charge it again. So it's a lot easier to keep track of if you're fully discharging it, you know, all that stuff. but that's not really easy with a kinetic watch. So if you're faced with that kind of thing, three to eight years, let's say you're on the three year mark, well, why aren't you just getting a watch with a five year battery in it? If you've got to replace the damn rechargeable battery every three years. And that's why a lot of people will say, well, what's the point of having a kinetic watch? Apart from the cool factor of thinking, hey, I don't have to potentially replace the alkaline battery in this thing. Hurrah. So anyway, all right, kinetic power. Everything is in swings. So swings of your arm, of course, is what I mean by that. I don't mean anything else by that. So there you go, swings of the arm. So it's gonna take, according to Seiko's, you know, kinetic documentation, 250 swings will give you one day of reserve up to a maximum of six months. So brand new rechargeable battery can hold maximum six months supply. So if you walk 360 meters, that's about 250 arm swings. So depending on how much you want to think about it. And now obviously that depends on your height, your walking gait, it's all very, you know, this law of averages was run with those sorts of figures. We'll normalize them in a minute. Now, the standard battery that they would use in one of the kinetic watches is a Maxell TC920S. That's a titanium carbon lithium rechargeable cell. 1.5 volts. It's, believe it or not, a 3.5 milliamp hour cell. So the watch power consumption, if you do the math, is 0.8 microamps, 1.2 microwatts. That ignores leakage, but you know, you're assuming you're charging it on a semi-regular basis by swinging your arm. Another way to think about it, it's 28.75 microwatts per day. Therefore you need 0.115 microwatts per swing. which is 1.44 meters per swing on average and let's assume that you are trying to use kinetics to run that beautiful display because that's been the idea kicked around, why don't we use kinetics? Kinetics will charge the Apple Watch display or the Galaxy Gear, let's do that. Well 0.26 watt screen for five minutes and an hour so you're looking at 22 million one hours would to take 1188,406 swings. So that would be, you'd have to walk for 271 kilometers or 168 miles. - Wow. - Which is a fair bit of walking. If you prefer, of course, you could think of it this way. And that is if you walk for a hundred meters or 328 feet, you get power the screen for 110 milliseconds. So you'd want to be a blink or you'll miss it. I mean, don't blink or you'll miss it. So yeah, okay. - So that's really not a significant charging technology. - No. - For that application. - Yeah, it's perfect. Well, when I say it's perfect, I mean, it works mostly for people that are active or more relatively active. And if you're driving a mechanical mechanism that's had hundreds of years of evolution and is extremely low power as a result. So that's kinetics. Okay. Let's talk about solar power, because that's the next good one, right? Let's just put a solar cell on there and everything will be fine. Yeah, I can really see Apple putting a solar cell right on top of that thing. Okay, well, okay, so here's what I've done with this one is I'm afraid I've trodden into the unrealistic territory to make a point. So let's go, let's just roll with- Run with me for just a second and we'll get there, okay. Let's assume that fully transparent solar panels exist, like they do exist, but they only really exist in the lab. They haven't been mass produced. And they're really expensive right now, too. Yeah. And they're not cost effective. So the next problem is that they typically only capture a very small number of wavelengths. Now for those people that have listened to episode 2, the battery problem, talk about solar panels, solar cells and efficiencies. One of the things that people have done in research and development is that they have got this idea of different layers of silicon will capture different wavelengths, such that sunlight from our sun of course consists of energy at different wavelengths and that blends together to give us what we consider to be white light and that's what our ice perceives being white light. So the ideal solar panels have at this point in time have got multiple layers, three layers actually, for capturing different sections of the spectrum and that energy gives in the maximum efficiency in the lab not mass-produced of 44.7% that's the current best laboratory solar cell ever produced so let's put that with a transparent fully transparent solar panel which also is not beyond the laboratory which is also not multiple wavelengths and let's assume that we can do that. And this theoretical watch then the whole front crystal is going to be the solar panel? That's exactly where I'm going yes, plus it's not a visual eyesore which is more the apple slant. Yeah but not just apple slant obviously it's real estate, screen real estate is king. You know you've got a small screen obviously you don't want to waste it, well half of it, quarter of it, even a tenth of it on a solar panel. But let's just assume that you've got the ability to put a fully transparent layer on this and it's 44.7% efficient. So a few facts about direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight 120 watts per square meter maximum irradiance. That's direct sunlight, no cloud cover, no nothing. Indoor fluorescent lighting has only got a fraction of the irradiance from the sun. Now obviously it depends on the kind of light bulb so it's going to be really hard to put a definitive figure on it. But think about how much power a light bulb has, like let's say a 36 watt fluorescent tube, pretty standard in an office. Of that, you are not going to convert all of that into solar energy. So let's assume that at a workable height, which would be a distance of, I don't know, maybe six or seven feet from the light source, you'll get maybe 1/10. So that's that's down to 12 watts per square meter. So once again we'll talk about the Apple Watch dimensions. So again estimated because final dimensions are not available yet but 42 millimeter by 32 37 centimeters. Ah well what I just say 42 millimeters by 37 millimeters that's 0.001554 square meters. So you're looking at outdoors, you'll be able to capture a maximum with all the efficiencies applied of 83 milliwatts outdoors and therefore 8.3 milliwatts indoors. Assume two hours of usable charging sunlight every day. That's direct sunlight at perfect angle of incidence, in other words it's perpendicular to the Sun at all times, no clouds, and 11 hours indoors so I'm assuming that you're going to have that same 12 you know that same amount of energy everywhere in the office in the home in the car on the train you're going to have the same amount constantly in that 11 hours at the perfect angle hell of a lot of perfects in here right so that's going to give us yep that's going to give us a sum total of 257 milliwatt hours a day Now, we need a 280 milliwatt hours a day for the screen alone. So that's not even enough to run the screen. It's close. But remember, we're talking about two technologies that don't go together yet. And in fact, neither of those technologies, even on their own, actually work on their own in an on a mass scale. So they're all still laboratory based. also making some absolutely crazy assumptions that when it's outside you're gonna hold your wrist up to the sunlight at the perfect angle for two hours every day. You're not gonna do that. Now maybe if you're lucky you're gonna put it on the window sill. That's if you've got a window desk in your office building. That's if you work in an office building. If you're like me and you're stuck in a cubicle and you're a cubicle or two away from the window or if the side of the building that you you happen to have your desk at is on the wrong side of the building, in other words, like relative to the predominant angle of the sun, like northern, southern facing, whatever, depending on which hemisphere you're on, you're not going to get that choice either. And even if you did do that, what's the point of having a watch that's sitting on the damn window sill charging? Yeah. So, yeah, I got a smartwatch that's not on my wrist. Yay. And we're still talking about just powering the screen. We still haven't even powered the rest of it. A whole lot of stuff. haven't even powered the rest of it yet. So, okay, so all of that is built on technology that doesn't exist and it still wouldn't be enough. So, realistically, with current technology, honestly, how much real estate would you sacrifice to get any additional solar energy boost, even if it was just a boost? Five millimetres of the screen space, 10 millimetres, that's quite a bit, you're chewing into your 42 millimetres there. See, I'm willing to bet the answer for the majority of people is none, because space is a premium, but even if you had 10mm strip along the top with current technology at best, you'd extend the battery life of the watch by maybe 2-3%. It's not worth it. It's not enough to matter. No, it's just not worth it and that's why they didn't do it and that's why they won't do it. So, no solar, no kinetic, because I mean, honestly... All right, so here's the next thing if you had kinetic or you had solar what do you need you need to store the energy so you gotta have a battery anyway you can have a rechargeable battery anyway so people say oh yeah if you had solar or kinetic you wouldn't have to worry about a rechargeable battery I don't know I don't know where these people get this idea from the point is that you need to store it somehow now I know I know everyone says oh let's just use super capacitors but there's a there's another problem with super capacitors and you know it sounds crazy but it's actually got to do with energy density. So batteries batteries suffer from a memory effect, capacitors don't. We already talked about the problems of super capacitors, you know that's fine but honestly the issue really for me is energy density. So with a lithium-ion battery you're looking at about the absolute best lithium-ion you're going to get is a measurement of its capacity and it'll be measured in watt hours let's say and that's in measured over volume, so because it's a density, all right. So 730 watt hours per litre, absolute best. And that's just the units that they use. Don't ask me why that's per litre, why not per cubic metre? I guess that's too big. Per cubic decimetre, whatever, it doesn't really matter. The point is that that's that, that's that. Now the best supercapacitor that I could find is about 10% that number. So in other words, to reach the same energy density you need something that's 10 times the size. So it works with a kinetic watch because in a kinetic watch with a super cap in there you know you don't need to store much power 3.5 milliamp hours I think is all you need to store. So that's not so bad but when you've got to store several hundred milliamp hours that's a problem you can't use a super cap it's gonna be too big. So the one of the great things about super caps where they do beat batteries is their power density as opposed to their energy density. It's a subtle but it's an important difference because as I said before P equals VI right so if you kick up the voltage you increase the amount of power the downside is for the same amount of current the downside is that you need more insulation because as you charge up the two plates then you know you the charge is going to want to arc between the two plates to equalize the charge so the issue is that you've got to have better insulator between them which takes up more space and and higher voltages in a wristwatch, this is not going to work out. So, super caps are out. So you've got to have a rechargeable battery anyway. If you're going to have kinetic or you're going to have solar, you've got to have a rechargeable battery. So if you're going to have a rechargeable battery, then you're going to have to have an external charging circuit for it anyway. So why not forget about your solar, forget about your kinetic, and just recharge the damn battery and be done with it. And, oh, lo and behold, that's what they did. Funny that, it's almost like they thought about it. So we're sort of stuck with rechargeable batteries, you know, for high power devices. There was a couple of little interesting things I did read about. I just want to quickly mention something called energy harvesting, which is kind of cool, where the spring back on the hands, so as the hands click around, like tick around the clock surface, as you force it to tick over, The spring back is actually in some watches is they actually draw a little Minuscule amount of power back from that to go back into the battery and I call it energy harvesting It's kind of cool. Of course. That's only useful if you got a mechanical movement back. Yeah, that's not like regenerative braking Yeah, yes, it is exactly so it that's kind of really cool I mean when I goes back into the battery or whether it goes into an intermediate capacitor or something it probably goes into a capacitor, but you know, the point is that you can't do any of that with an LCD, an LED or a screen like a smartwatch or something, you know. But that's some of the cool stuff. And that's the advantage of, you know, 400 years of development is all these, people have tried all these different ideas with mechanical mechanisms to save energy. And, you know, the quartz movements have been around for 50 years, something like that, you know. So eventually things will improve, but for the moment, we are where we are with these smartwatches. So, all righty. Before we start talking about GPS, 'cause that's the next thing that people kick around. It's like, "Oh man, let's put a GPS in these watches, "right, that'll be great." Thumbs up. Okay, so I'd like to talk about our second sponsor for the episode, and that's LIFX. They're back. So LIFX, spelled L-I-F-X, is a smart light bulb that gives you complete control of the color and intensity of your bulb over Wi-Fi. So what does that mean? Well, you can set the LIFX to whatever color the rainbow you like, as dim or as bright as you like and it's all controlled with your smartphone. 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It has a developer friendly SDKs for iOS, Android and Ruby which means if you can think of a great way to control them you can go out there and build it on whatever platform you like right now. Now I've been testing some demo bulbs and the kids went crazy with some of the music effects and they have done actually several times. Sometimes we didn't realise until we walked into the room. Anyway, the microphone on your smartphone hears the music that's playing and modulates the light bulb in time making a very cool disco-like effect. It is cool. I know I say it's cool, it actually is really cool and it's a lot of fun. So LIFX bulbs are shipping today for only $99 US for a single bulb with free shipping worldwide for packs of four and greater. Now if you buy the four pack, you save 4% overall. With the 10 pack, you save 8% overall. So if you buy in bulk, then you're going to save more money. And that's of course on top of the Pragmatic discount code. They've done something fantastic. they've actually improved the coupon code discount. So head over to LIFX spelled L I F X dot co slash pragmatic to learn more and enter the coupon code pragmatic 20 that's pragmatic the word and two zero the numbers for 20% off now the total price of your order. Thank you so much for LIFX returning sponsor for sponsoring Pragmatic. Okay, who needs some GPS in their life? This is where you're supposed to say, "I do." Anyway, GPS is, I mean, they are fantastic for locating where you are and that's wonderful and I love it, but you know what? They chew a lot of juice. One of the problems with quantifying it though is you have to go back to the iPhone, well in Apple's case right, so obviously the lens that I'm using for this whole discussion is the Apple Watch. So Apple's going to tend to use Apple components that it's used in the past. So they're going to say okay well I'm going to use this chipset from this vendor because they've given us blah blah blah in the past and so on and so forth and vendor evaluation and so on so forth. So it's most reasonable when I'm looking into this to look at past history of Apple products to project forward what they're going to do for the watch if they were to do a GPS in the watch. And you have to go back to the iPhone 4 to find a standalone GPS chip. And I talked about that back in on episode one actually of the show Faraday's Cage. So highly recommend listening to that one if you haven't already where I pull apart all the of different iPhones except not the 6 and 6 plus which I'll have to look at at some point. Now that particular GPS chip was a Broadcom BCM4750 and essentially with the GPS chips there's two modes of operation what they call acquisition and tracking. So initial acquisition has a much higher battery drain but once you're in tracking mode most chips like the Broadcom will go into a low power tracking mode. So I'm going to ignore the acquisition battery drain and I'm just going to go with what you're going to be in the majority of the time, which is of course power tracking, low power tracking. Now obviously that's an assumption. Let's say that you're in a watch, you're inside a building, you don't get clear GPS signals. Well obviously that blows that out the window because you'll be forever trying to acquire the satellite signals in order to get a fix on your location. So let's just you know assume for a moment that what we're to be doing is we're going to be in continuous low power tracking mode. So in that particular mode, 13 milliwatts is what it draws continuously. BCM 4750, 13 milliwatts. Now since that chip was designed, Apple now uses fully integrated integrated circuits, A6. And so you know, and they call them like the A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, and now the S1, I believe they're calling the new one for the Apple Watch. Now when you do that obviously it's impossible for me now from the outside to figure out how much power the GPS section alone is drawing. I can't do it, I don't have that information. I'm not the chip designer, I can't tell you that. So that's why I'm sort of going with those numbers. But if you assume that you're going to save, I don't know, maybe 10% of power by putting it on die, and the reason you save that power is because in order to communicate with that particular chip it's done over I2C and I2C drivers consume energy. If you put it on the same die then your drivers can be minuscule. That's if you need additional drivers at all, you may be able to drive direct output, it's all you know you don't have to go out to an external circuit board and then go back into a chip again. So you know you save energy by doing that which is one of the one of the advantages of going on the same die. However you're also going to get additional savings by going to a smaller manufacturing process. So as time has gone on since the iPhone 4 there's been improvements to the manufacturing process so if they're down to whatever nanometers they're down to obviously you're going to get additional savings as well. So by the time we get to the S2 chip which would potentially include GPS on board on the next version of the Apple Watch let's say, I'm going to run with an estimate of 25% power saving. So rounded it out we'll call it 10 milliwatts because it's a nice round number for low power tracking. That's for your GPS. Okay, so if we assume that we can make our watch smart enough to know when it's outside, in other words not in a building, such that we only use, assuming you've got Wi-Fi in the building, which is a pretty safe assumption these days, and the assumption that you don't want to consume power from your GPS by trying to acquire when you're inside a building because that would be wasteful. So assuming that you're always in that tracking mode or rather you are when you're inside. So again 13 hours of use typical same as before 13 hours of use typical business day. Let's say you're outside for three of those hours and when I say three of those hours I mean I'm in a vehicle where I've got line of sight to GPS satellites or I'm you know walking around the between buildings or to and from train or on a train you know in in environments where I can get GPS signals. And then on a train thing, I realized, of course, some people will take subway, some of them underground. Okay, fine, not in that case. But anyway, let's just go with three hours. I think that's reasonable enough. So that's 30 milliwatt hours to power the GPS. - Yeah. - Okay, so that's sort of an idea of what sort of hit you're gonna have to take in order to run a GPS. So we're gonna have to hold that thought. for the moment because there's a lot of assumptions on that but we'll get to talking to the battery a little bit further on so in terms of powering a smartwatch, if I were to wrap up powering a smartwatch the power requirements for the screen alone means that an alkaline battery won't cut it unless you buy a new battery every third or fourth day no one's going to do that, you know, we're used to every five years, not going to happen - It's a lot of batteries. - It's a lot of batteries. Kinetic plus solar, and it costs real money, right? And plus it's a waste issue environmentally. So there's all sorts of reasons why you wouldn't do that. Kinetic plus solar, it still won't be enough. Unless of course you want to wrap your entire arm with kinetic charges or a big solar panel or both. I mean, you could probably do that actually, but I can't see anyone actually doing that. Maybe someone someday will do that. They'll have like a kinetic arm sleeve or something. You can strap it on and there you go. and say, "Hey, I'm environmentally friendly," as they're shaking their arm while they're talking to you. See? I don't know, maybe they will make it work. - The Mophie arm pack. - Yeah, that's brilliant, yes. Oh, that could work. Get working on that, Mophie. All right, so anyway, so realistically, no one's gonna do that. So you're stuck with a rechargeable, like a lithium ion, just like you are in your phone. And if you're stuck with charging, you need to make it through a typical day. And that's going to be challenging enough, even with a huge battery. So the GPS kind of draws way too much power to be included in the first cut, but that doesn't mean it won't make it into the next iPhone. Remember, it didn't make it into the original iPhone, right? - Yep. - So if it's not going to make it into the first Apple Watch, that's not the end of the world. I would expect we'd see a GPS in there between in two or three years, because as the power consumption improves, then I can see that happening. And it is improving. - Well, and they'll make the software really smart about when to turn it off and on too. - Yes, exactly. All right, so the last bit about charging before we get stuck in to the actual Apple Watch usefulness or smartwatches in general usefulness for that matter. Let's talk about inductive charging. 'Cause I heard a couple of comments about this and I'm sorry but let's just set the record straight here. So some people have said that Apple chose inductive charging because inductive charging and, oh hang on, actually before I start about this, it's built on MagSafe technology. Really? Is it just? Because the funny thing is MagSafe technology, last time I checked, used physical contacts to transfer the power. It's based on MagSafe technology in the same sense that it uses magnets to align itself. So you could just as easily say, and it'd be far more accurate to say that it's based on the smart cover technology, which also uses magnets. And you can have that pull quote from Steve Jobs, it uses magnets. And I know that sounds so cheesy to me, but honestly, inductive charging, there is no other piece of Apple equipment that I'm aware of that's ever used inductive charging. Correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know of any. Hmm. So saying that it's based on inductive charging is disingenuous. That's just wrong. Anyway, alright. Got that little complaint out of the way. Moving on with my life. Okey dokey. So, inductive charging. Why don't more people use inductive charging? Well, because it's lossy and it's inefficient, basically. And if you've got a battery and you go between wired and inductive, then inductive will take longer to charge. The best performing charger that I could find, inductive charger, was 86% efficient versus a cable that essentially has no loss. I mean, that's if you exclude contact losses, which is like a fraction of a percent, you know? And we talked about, I talked about that on, on the gold-plated contacts episode. - Yeah. - Extra oxygen. Anyway. - So these inductive chargers, on the inside of the watch part, Let me know if I've got this correct. Basically, it's kind of the same mechanism as like the kinetic charging would use, except it's using magnetic fields from the charger to stimulate that, is that right? - That is correct. - Okay. - So what you essentially have is a coil inside the device and an alternating field on the charging pad. When you put the two together, essentially they couple just like a transformer. So primary and secondary winding, and it transfers the power across. But the difference is a transformer, and people say, "Oh, transformers are like 90 something, "90 whatever percent efficient." It's like, "Well, yeah." And that's because they've got laminated, a special laminated steel that's inserted between them to improve the magnetic coupling. That doesn't exist between the phone and the charging clip, or in the case of most inductive chargers these days, the charging pad and the back of the phone. I mean, sure, it'd improve the efficiency if you could shove a bunch of metal between the two, yeah, but that's not gonna happen. All right, so just to pluck any old smartphone out the air that currently has inductive charging, I picked the HTC Sensation 'cause it's sensational. I don't know, whatever. Anyway, its dimensions are 126.1 by 65.4 by 11.3, which is millimeters, which is 4.96 by 2.5 seconds by 0.44 inches. So that whole area is the actual dimensions of the phone. And if you look at it, 'cause I couldn't find exact dimensions of the charging coils, the charging coils are in relative terms about 30 millimeters square. Now, it's basically a coil that's spiraling inwards, okay? So it starts out in a large diameter and gets to a small diameter towards the center. So 30 square millimeters. The depth, unfortunately, is unknown, but knowing what I know, I'm gonna go with about three millimeters. So still relatively thin, three millimeters, it's not too bad. Now, because of the power requirements of a HTC Sensation are gonna be considerably more, larger battery to charge, of course, and therefore you wanna have a higher charging rate, otherwise it'll be sitting on the inductive charger forever before you can use it. So you wanna have it charged overnight, just like an iPhone. So it's gonna have a larger coil, larger coil, more power transfer, larger battery, it needs it. That all makes perfect sense, one would think. So, but with an Apple Watch, it's much, it's going to be a bit smaller. However, if we, so if we assume that it's going to be small, that's all, that's well and good. Now, everything's compared, was compared to Lightning. Now, Lightning represented, Lightning connectors represented a big space saving over the 30-pin dock, around about the same depth, around about the same height, but a very, very reduced width. So it's no longer this huge wide connector, it's now this really nice, cute little narrow thing. And more importantly, of course, it's not keyed to a specific orientation, which is awesome. - Yes. - More cables like that, please, to the rest of the world. I know it's harder, just suck it up and do it anyway. Okay, Apple did it, so you should suck it up and do it too. There you go. Anyway, that's my sales pitch to anyone who's listening, who's on a standards board, which is probably not many. Anyway, all right, so lightning socket takes up approximately 10 millimeters wide, 10 millimeters long by about six millimeters high. So yes, it is thicker, about twice the thickness of a charging coil's going to be. But if you look at it from a volume point of view, I'd say, you know, given the reduction in size from the, on the Apple Watch, it's somewhere between a quarter, a half to a quarter of the volume of the coils. So if that one particular dimension, that that that Y dimension the height dimension if that is a problem I can see how the coil would be better but in terms of actual volume the lightning connector is going to take up less space so there's not there's no argument I mean I'll be I'll be stunned maybe it takes up the same amount of space but there's no way the charging coil is going to take up less space in terms of volume than the lightning connector I just can't see that I just can't 30 pin dock sure lightning no way so anyone that thinks that they've added the inductive coil to save on space I'd be stunned if that were the case. The only exception to that might be that they wanted to make better utilization of the round area that you see behind the back of the on the back of the watch and a coil would fit nicely around that as opposed to having a connector which would you know ruin the the look of the watch. But then they were never going to use a connector anyway and they were never going to use a connector like a lightning connector simply because the obvious one well what I think is obvious is water ingress moisture ingress you know because I mean watches are gonna get wet they're gonna get wet that's the truth well and they don't want that hole right in the side of it either well that yeah exactly so yeah plus the appearance would be a bit odd but you know and this is how they get around it with cheaper watches already like this that have charging cables is I have a rubber plug that goes in there and it looks horrible and the rubber plugs gunk up and they fall off and it looks terrible. So there's all sorts of really good other reasons, but I just want to squash that idea that "oh, they're doing it to save us space". No, they aren't. At least I'd be stunned if they were. And we won't know for sure, and I guess I'll find out soon enough, well soon enough, in a few months time, when I fix it to a tear down when these things are released. So I guess I have to revisit this and I will either be falling on my sword, hey here's a good hit sound snippet for the future for future me. So future me, this is the sound of me falling on my sword. There you go. Or this is the sound of me being right and being smug about it either way. So there we go, we'll hold that thought for future. All right and honestly that's all I wanted to say about all the battery consumption charging methods and GPS and so on. So, the next thing I want to talk about is the difference between watch and wearables. Maybe it's obvious, maybe it's not, but the idea is that everything started out as a wrist watch and that's really the only thing that people have worn on their wrists, you know, for useful purposes. Obviously decorative purposes, different story. I'm not talking about fashion and that's something I should have said at the beginning of the show. This is, I am not considering fashion. people will wear watches as a fashion statement. I'm not interested in that because that's not a practical application and I would refer you to the tagline of the show. Fashion is not practical in any way at all. So if you want to go down the road, if people will buy the gold Apple watch because it looks nice or gold matches their eye color or god knows why they would buy it, that's great. But as for me, I'll be buying the strongest, most waterproof, highest longevity, highest impact and scratch resistant model which is probably going to be the one that's stainless steel with the sapphire front on it. It'll probably cost a little bit more but it'll be more sturdy and more likely to last. That's practical as far as I'm concerned but irrespective I'm not talking about fashion requirements. So people will say "oh I'm gonna buy an Apple Watch because it's fashionable" yeah well F that I'm not interested. So okay funny thing The Fitbit. How much you know about Fitbits? A little bit. I've done some research on them. The wife wants to get one of those kind of devices. So, tell me a little bit about the history of the Fitbit. If you've had a look into that or what sorts of features that they've got. Most of that style device, they do basic step counting, motion tracking, sleep analysis type stuff. Okay and a lot of that's just based on accelerometer and gyroscope. So usually Bluetooth paired to your smartphone or something like that. Yes, yes, that's right exactly. So not Wi-Fi. Yes, is that right? Not that not any that I don't recall seeing any that were Wi-Fi. No because they're using Bluetooth for low energy which makes sense. So these things have got pretty good battery life because well I say pretty good you know it's better than a smart smartwatch world. But they came into being as part of the fitness thing, right? The fitness industry. So, the particular, the Fitbit I think was 2009, I think was the first one that actually came out. I think it was one of those hardware startups. It was a Kickstarter in any case. The first model did not have a clock in it. It was purely designed to clip on to your clothes and the Fitbit was designed to track your movements and it gave you information on your movements. As time has passed, some models have now got a clock built into them. Fantastic, excellent, we have a clock built into them. That's all well and good, but no one's going to argue with you, the new ones, and say that they are the best wristwatch you can buy. Because they got a clock in them, but you know, they're a fitness tracking wearable. And it's actually targeted at the intersection between technology nuts and fitness nuts. And I say nuts in a good way, because I'm a technology nut, I guess. So not meaning that in a detrimental way. And in that overlap, obviously, they found a big business. And that's great, you know, power to them. But the thing that I find fascinating about it is that it's evolved in the reverse direction. So I've been holding off talking about this until this moment because of that one fact is that it started out as a wearable that grew into a watch which had watch capability. But what about watches that have grown into something that's more than just a watch? Because up until now that's what's happened because people said, "Okay, I've got a watch on my wrist. What else can I get out of this thing?" the most obvious one, early 70s. Once again, it was, I'm pretty sure it was Hamilton again, that did a calculator watch. And they've been calculator watches on and off by different companies. I had a Casio calculator watch at one point during my childhood. And that was one example. So they never really took off, calculator watches. You don't see them around. - I had one. Yeah, exactly. So, why didn't we use it as... did you use it much? I did. I thought it was cool, but nobody else thought I was cool. Did you stop wearing it because you were... Well, OK, hang on. Why did you stop using it? I stopped wearing mine after... mine had actual little soft rubber buttons on it, and after a few of them got ripped off, I stopped wearing it. Okay, so it presented a reliability issue. The other problem... Wow, cool, fair enough. See, when I used mine, I found it was an absolute nightmare to use. I was forever pushing the wrong button, or the button I was pushing, I had to push too hard to make it work. Some buttons would stick. Yeah, the physical interface was terrible. Assuming that, of course, you could make that physical interface better, more like a, I don't know, like the refinement of a BlackBerry keyboard. but they were never really popular enough to reach that stage. The user interface on them was terrible. You know? Well, I think I was pretty young when I had mine, so I don't know that I was able to look at it objectively enough to get past the "cool, it's a calculator on my wrist." Hmm. Yeah, that's it. And that's the point is that once you get past the cool factor, is it actually all that useful? And I would put to you that it isn't, because mainly because the user interface is so bad and because the user interface is unreliable. So it's important to keep that in mind, or at least I think it's important to keep that in mind when we start looking at the utility of smartwatches. So, the Apple Watch. Let's talk a little bit about its battery. It sounds like I'm jumping around, but I'm not. I have a reason for doing it in this order. Okay, so the iPhone 6 Plus battery, which has only recently been released and recently teared down by iFixit, again, great job guys, love it when you guys do that, weighs 43 grams, just if you're interested, and it is 4.7 by 1.9 by 0.13 inches, which is 119 by 48 by 3.3 millimeters, and it provides 2,915 milliwatt hours of capacity. And that is enormous for an iPhone. Mind you, it's an enormous phone, so, you know, shrug. Energy density, 0.15 milliwatt hours per cubic millimeter. Useful, keep that in mind. So based on the photos, we can estimate the Apple Watch battery at being about 21 by 35 millimeters. Assume it's about the same thickness as the 6 Plus battery. Of course, we have no depth, we have no tear down. Let's assume it's about the same, 3.5 millimeters, or 0.13 of an inch. Again, we assume linearity because, Well, we have to, because we have no better information. Assuming linear scalability of capacity and volume, that gives us 375 milliwatt hours of capacity in an Apple Watch battery, based on photos and a few little assumptions. So, going back to our 13-hour daily budget, you're looking at 39 milliwatt continuous maximum power drain to flatten that battery. So, based on previous figures, five minutes in every hour, over 13 hours for the screen alone, we've used 280 milliwatt hours as we talked about before, that leaves about a hundred milliwatt hours for everything else, the S1, the wifi, the Bluetooth radios. And frankly, I'd actually believe those figures. They sound realistic. When you consider that, you know, you're probably looking at maybe 50, 60 milliwatts, probably, you know, for the S1, which is gonna include all that stuff, a little bit of headroom in there. You know, I don't think that's unreasonable. I think that's quite possible. Sorry, I mean to say plausible. Plausibly possibly plausible impossible. Anyhow, so the truth is that that could work. And I suspect that those figures are close, relatively close to reality, but I won't be able to verify that until we actually have a tear down. So, it's the way to go. They've made, it looks like they've made good design choices so far based on the cursor information that we've been able to assemble. But what about the user interface? Because this is what gets me about calculator watches And frankly Fitbits as well, right? Because the Fitbits, you need to extract the data onto a computer in order to get anything out of it So obviously what you want to do is you want to have the best of both And now you've got a dinky-die little LED display on your wrist you actually have the ability to display some of that fitness information, as well as to improve on the calculator interface, potentially. So, you know, those two use cases, plus a whole bunch more. So let's, the final thing we're gonna cover is user interface. So considering everything we've talked about is all for nothing, if you don't have a good user interface. Same with smartwatches, it's the same thing with smartwatches, - Smartphones, sorry, smartphones. Go back to, you know, Windows CE with resistive touchscreens. I had a Casio Pia, I had, or Palm, a Palm OS on Palm Pilots and the Palm Zires and all the different Palm Viet versions that they had, you know, with their graffiti and everything. Yeah, all with resistive touchscreens. The multi-touch just turned out to be so much easier and had so much more flexibility that it took it to the next level. The concept already existed of smartwatches. The question is, can you improve the user interface a point at which it becomes the best device. I'm not sold that you can, but you know what, we're going to have a look at it. So, the right information has to be available on wristwatches, and I really hate saying something so bloody broad like that, but it has to be the right information. It has to be useful, usable, and it has to be appropriate information. So the more navigating you have to do on that little screen in order to get to the information that you want, well, that's a problem. You have to cut that to a bare minimum. So that's one of the things that they have with text messages is that they're trying to scan the text message, look for probable responses, and you get presented with a list of possible responses. Great, that's exactly what you need. You don't wanna spend ages mucking around trying to enter in full text. so that's gonna be really hard. Anyway, so getting this new technology to be effective, you have to have something that's gonna be easier than pulling a mobile phone out of your pocket. And I've actually written about this already on Tech Distortion a year ago about smartwatches. And for the most part, it's not going to really be much of an advantage. But what I didn't consider was the alternative methods of communicating with the user. And it got me thinking, All of the other manufacturers have put a vibrating device, just like the one you've got on the mobile phone, in the smartwatch. It's an obvious thing to add. Obviously it consumes power, that's a bad thing, but you know, vibration on the wrist. You could probably get away with it being with less vibration, lower powered vibrating device, because it's directly contacting your skin at all times. And it got me thinking about a phone. You take the phone out and you put it on a desk. Now, obviously, depending on the kind of desk it is, most flat hard desks, you're gonna hear it vibrate. Mind you, the people all around you are gonna hear it vibrate too as it goes, (imitates vibrating) on the, you know, I'm not a sound effects guy, but anyway, you know the sound it makes, right? And people have been doing that since the days of pages, you know, having pager races and stuff. Well, not that I've ever been into that sort of thing, but you know, anyhow. So, you know, this is not a new thing, but the point is that if it's in your pocket, I often don't feel it vibrating because I'll be leaning forward and if my shirt's leaning forward it's in my breast pocket, it's not actually in contact with my skin and it's got the entire front section of my shirt to insulate the rest of my body from the vibrations of the phone. So I physically don't feel it. But a watch is always connected to your wrist, or at least you would hope it is. That being the case, the utility is that you can have a lower powered vibration device and it'll be far more effective. And that's what a lot of other smartphone manufacturers, smartwatch manufacturers have done. But what Apple say they've done, and the effectiveness of this is something that obviously I'm not gonna know until I try it, other people aren't gonna know until they try it, it's not publicly available. But during the demo, the ex-Adobe guy, Kevin Lynch, I think, I forget his name, the guy from Adobe, And I just remember him from that interview that Josh Topolsky did with him about Flash and then he jumped ship to Apple and anyway. Yeah. Which is always fun to watch. Oh, look, now Apple my best friend. Anyway, funny how that works. So, whatever happened to brand, to company loyalty. Anyway, OK, so here's the thing. It changes with the company. It changes with who pays your paycheck. Isn't that funny how that works? Yeah. So, he said that when you're navigating in maps. it has two distinctly different tapping sensations and he called them tapping sensations not vibrating sensations so that Taptic Engine that they've come up with is supposed to give you feedback for turning the digital crown, force touching certain things as well as navigating and if it's distinctly different feeling the only way you can get that with a standard vibrating device with a rotating vibrating device an offset of vibrating weight which is what i currently use well there's there's a bunch of different ones but that's the general idea is that all you can do is vary how long it vibrates for and you could pulse it so you go root root root or you go root like that you know and you can have custom yeah like Morse code you know did it a da da da da da da da da da - Changing the direction it rotates wouldn't make any significant difference, would it? - No, no. So, ultimately you're stuck with a single method of indication. And if it's drawn out in time, then as your body becomes aware of the vibration, you then have to concentrate and listen, listen through your nerve endings, I guess, if that makes any sense. You have to feel over a period of time. Whereas if you've got a tap sensation that's a different tap sensation either in a different physical location on your wrist which is what I suspect it is or it's somehow a different intensity or it's a very rapid tap versus tap or something like that I don't know what it is no one I think knows what it is yet at least outside of Apple but if it is truly unique and it is an improvement on the Vibrain device then that's perfect because that's just what you want you want a new method of communicating discrete information without having to look at the damn thing. So it's vibrating it if it's fine phones vibrating in your pocket assuming that you can feel it you know you can set up to have different vibrating patterns for different callers, caller groups and so on I believe from memory I haven't done that but I believe I'm pretty sure you can. Now if you could do that with the watch that'd be awesome because now I have a new method of of communicating. And that's the power of this thing is that indication because it has that advantage over the phone. That's something the phone can't do because it's not in contact with your skin. So you're stuck with a traditional vibrating mechanism and the restrictions that come with that. So I see that as a big step forward because that's as much about the user interface as the screen is. So the screen however, let's face it, it's tiny. You know, and they made a bit of a to-do about the digital crown and it's great for zooming and selecting things in a list. But honestly, that's it. It's really not much good for much else. You know, is it revolutionary? Well, it's different. Whether it's revolutionary remains to be seen. I honestly am more excited about the Taptic Engine than I am about the damn dial. Because honestly, yes, you have to overcome the issue of pinch to zoom. How do you zoom in on a touch screen? But the truth is that you can still flick with your finger. They showed flicking gestures. So apart from the zoom functionality, it looks like there's nothing else that's dependent upon the digital crown in order to function. So that being the case, you're still stuck with a touch interface for a lot of what you want to do. And that's fine, obviously, what do you expect? Now, force tapping is a good addition in terms of input method, but the problem I've got with force tapping is that it's a one force or no force solution. So, either you're tapping or you're force tapping because you try teaching someone multiple levels of force. Yeah. You know, as I... It's gonna vary from person to person. Yeah, it's very hard to learn and when I, you know, when I used to play the piano all the time, and back when I played regularly, building up finger strength when you're playing a grand piano is part of improving because you have to improve your dynamic control. So how hard you hit those keys, obviously it depends on what the composer wanted when they wrote the song. So you have to control how hard you hit those keys and it takes years and years of practice and I'm not suggesting that I got that good at it. I actually probably didn't but you know what that's okay. My point is that when it comes to force tapping on a watch you really are only going to have one force. Either you're pushing it hard or you're not. Because just imagine if you're how infuriating it would be if you had to if there was a middle point like not tapping not force tapping but somewhere in between and when you get angry and upset, why isn't it working? You're just going to tap harder and you're going to completely go past that middle force level. You're going to go straight to hard because you're going to be like, why aren't you tapping you damn, you know, whatever. It's not going to work. Well it's as nuanced as the difference between whispering and yelling and the whole range in between and trying to find the perfect decibel. Exactly. Yep. Couldn't agree more. And this is the problem with false tapping is that, Don't get me wrong, it's a great addition, but it's a dead end. It's not going to go any further than that. So you're not going to find the next Apple Watch has 10 special grades of force tapping or something. No, to be consistent, it's going to be pretty binary. It has to be. So, you know, that's still good. And I can see that making its way into the iPhone at some point in the future. Absolutely, I can. However, for the moment, it's just the Watch. And that's just the way Apple does things, right? They'll add a feature like the retina screen, you know to one model of the MacBook Pro iron out the bugs. Early adopters of the guinea pigs go early adopters. As they get it perfected they'll spread it out. Exactly. So it's only a matter of time. Retina MacBook Air, come on. Okay yeah I know. Anyway okay so the thing is that the improvements in the Apple Watch that I I see in terms of notifications are more significant than in the input direction. So you're going to get more of an improvement from notifications than you are from input. If you've got a big response that you're going to type out to a message, you're not going to do it on the watch. You're just not. I mean, can you imagine using the digital crown to scroll through 26 letters of the alphabet and select each letter one by one? You're not going to do that. - That'd be like searching on the Apple TV. - Yeah, it'd be, yeah, except worse. Because what are you gonna do? I mean, you've only got one axis of rotation because on an Apple TV remote, you've got two axes. You've got up, down, left, right. So you've got two axes of movement. So they can do it as a grid. Well, you know, I say a grid, it's more of a jumble of letters, but you know, you can do it, you can do that. You can't do that with a single dial. Unless of course you wanna scroll across, tap a button, tap the crown in, scroll again, tap it in. What do you, yeah, it's just messy, messy, messy. I mean, the only one I could come up with is if you look at the iPhone on-screen keyboard and you press and hold a letter, your finger obscures the letter on the keyboard. Okay, that's fine, Apple thought of that. Little pop-up comes up showing you that letter. So there you go, you've got a letter. Fantastic. Okay, you could do the same thing on a watch. if the accuracy of the touch point was good enough. So you could drag your finger around the keyboard to find the letter that you wanted and do a force tap, force press on it at that point to select that letter. That's how I'd do it. Whether or not that's the way they're gonna do it, I don't know, but longer term, if it's ever gonna become a standalone device, everyone says, "Oh yeah, it's tethered to an iPhone, "it's dead end, you know, it's not gonna be a..." That sucks, you know? Well, when they put a GPS in this thing and they put a better wifi radio in it, because it's got BG in it apparently, and they put cellular in it, which eventually they will do, it's only a matter of time. Well, when all of that happens, how are we going to get text into this thing? They're going to have to come up with something. I just can't see the watch forever being an accessory that requires an iPhone. I just can't. It had to evolve to move forward eventually. Siri dictation's gotten a lot better on iOS 8, so they could go that route. If you say so. I mean the problem, I'm sorry, that has not been my experience. I mean, my experience is... Well, I didn't say it was good, I said it's gotten better. Yeah, well I mean, but if I ask for directions to the flower shop, it asks if I want to buy a flower pot, and it's like, well, no. That's not good enough. And besides which the problem with voice interaction that I've... It doesn't apply to public places. You know, it's bad enough talking on a phone in a public place, but you know, and when you've got Siri with raised to talk, for example, you raise up to ear, it's like you're on a phone call. That's socially acceptable. But yelling out to a phone on speaker is pretty much a no-no in civilized society. it's frowned upon. Because you don't want to hear both sides of a conversation. It's bad enough you're hearing one side when someone's talking on a phone up to their ear. What are you going to do, hold the watch up to your ear? You know? So you're talking to a phone, whether you're talking to the phone or you're talking to Siri, same problem. So voice recognition's still going to face lots of problems. And besides which, it's improved on iOS 8, sure, but that's because the iPhone is running an A8 chip or an A7 chip that's 64-bit. It's got a heck of a lot more RAM on it. guarantee you for battery life reasons alone that the watch is a long way off that kind of power probably the same kind of time frame probably six seven years off so i just can't see it happening i can see it becoming a standalone device in the future but if it's going to do that the ai needs to become exceptionally good they have like in order to like when it's parsing messages it or it needs to have its own ability to enter into enter textual input and whether that's through Siri or some future equivalent of Siri or that's through a keyboard mechanism like the one I described. Using the digital crayon isn't going to cut it because it's going to be too slow. And honestly, I can see it happening, but it's got a long ways to go. And this is a generation one product that hasn't been released yet. But honestly, what they had so far has inspired me to think that this actually could be beneficial Because for the longest time I sort of wrote off smart, which is saying there's no point. But if I can communicate discreetly with someone with no vibration and go tap, tap, and they get that tap, that's subtle and that's different. And that is an extension of notifications. If I then marry that up with, I raise my wrist to look at the time and it shows me the notification from that person and I can just flick through them. And if I want to respond quickly, I can tap on it and say, yes, no, maybe Bob's your uncle, whatever. Well, you hope Bob's your uncle, not your auntie. The point is that if you do flick through all of those, then that sort of that those glances that they talked about, well, that's exactly what you want. The key is having glanceable data. Yeah. So if Apple have integrated well, then it can work. Otherwise, it's just an expensive watch with a shitty battery. And that's the truth. So, you know, I guess the answer is watch this time and space, because if you don't, if you look at it as a "this is all it's going to be", you miss the point. Obviously it's going to evolve, and I doubt very much if it's going to evolve any more quickly than the iPhones. Like, I can imagine that maybe next year they'll have a slightly different case maybe, or different bands or something, or subtle tweaks here and there. Maybe the S2 chip maybe, with a few tweaks in in here maybe slightly faster, maybe a slightly bigger battery, not much else to it. You're not going to get wholesale features and it's going to be like every two years because this is a big investment for people. You can't tie it to a phone plan, which makes the whole phone replacement thing every year or two palatable. It's going to be a much harder sell as they're finding with the iPad a much harder sell with the watch upgrades. So people are saying it's first gen, you should wait. Yeah, well, obviously you didn't get a first gen iPhone. I did. I don't think that makes me a sucker or it just makes me an early adopter because I love the new technology. Yeah. But I am very, very optimistic now. I think that's the thing though. You've got to buy it for that reason. Hmm. I think ultimately though, Apple have had the right approach and perhaps the best approach. Oh yeah. If you look at some of the other ones like the Motorola 360, the Android wear stuff. You know, I think Apple's approach is better. However, a lot of it comes down to the execution and I can't tell that until it's been done. But I'm very optimistic, particularly about the Taptic Engine and I'm curious to see how they progress with software updates in time to do with text input. And that's it. So I hope that that's clarified a bunch of people's misconceptions about what Apple should have done and frankly not just Apple but other manufacturers of smartwatches. Why they I think they've done what they've done. And honestly yeah I think that there's a lot of hope and promise for the future of this but you know again watch this space it's going to improve with time. Don't write it off just yet. Did you have anything else that you wanted quickly add? No, I think that pretty much covers it. Cool. I'm just really eager to see what what they do with it and how it plays out. Oh absolutely, me too. And I think that I think that it's going to be... What it really offers. It's gonna vary from person to person. As far as interface and stuff like that. I mean we've got a good idea what the hardware is going to offer. I'd like to see what they do with it as far as the interface and all the things you were talking about. Any application they put on it, and I don't mean application just in the in the sense of an app, but any application they put on it, they're gonna have to get really creative with it, the UI and the interaction with it, and just really experiment with that and find out what works best. And I trust Apple to do that best. Yeah, absolutely. All righty, well if you'd like to talk more about this you can reach me on Twitter @johnchidgey that's J-O-H-N-C-H-I-D-G-E-Y and check out my writing at techdistortion.com. If you'd like to get in touch with Vic you can be reached on Twitter @vichudson1 that's V-I-C-H-U-D-S-O-N and the number 1. If you'd like to send any feedback please use the feedback form on the website and yes I swear it's working now. Stupid NGINX. Redirect. Grumble, grumble. Anyway. That's where you'll also find show notes for this episode under podcasts Pragmatic. You can follow Pragmatic Show on Twitter to see show announcements and other related materials like when we're broadcasting live if you want to join in and we certainly hope that you do. A special thank you to everyone in the chat room for joining us today and yes also Also a big thank you to our sponsors of course, we have LIFX, and if you're looking for an awesome LED light bulb that's remotely controllable, colourful, energy efficient and really fun to use, remember to specifically visit this URL, LIFX spelled L-I-F-X dot co slash pragmatic and use the coupon code pragmatic20 for 20% off the total price of your order. That's a really good deal. Get it while you can. I'd also like to thank ManyTricks for sponsoring Pragmatic, and if you're looking for some Mac software that can do many tricks. Remember, specifically visit this URL, manytricks.com/pragmatic for more information about their amazingly useful apps. Use the discount code pragmatic25, that's pragmatic the word and 25 the numbers, but 25% off the total price of your order. Hurry, it has been extended but it is only for a limited time. So get in while you can. And thank you very much Vic, of course, and thank you everybody for listening. (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) [Music] [Music] (dramatic music)