Opinion: Why iPod nano’s three-week battery life is and isn’t a fair benchmark for Apple Watch longevity
Over the past month, I spent several weeks testing the battery of an Apple watch. Not the Apple Watch, of course, but the first product Apple released with the option of being worn like one: the sixth-generation iPod nano. Back in 2010, Steve Jobs mentioned during the “instantly wearable” nano’s introduction (video at 26:30) that one of Apple’s directors planned to use it as a watch. That brief aside directly inspired the creation of nano watchband makers Lunatik and Hex, as well as simple, cheap bands from Apple accessory specialists including Griffin, Incipio, and SwitchEasy. A year later, Apple updated the nano’s software to expand its watch functionality, adding “16 new digital clock faces and improved built-in fitness features.” The nano-as-watch test was at least somewhat successful; Hex even shared pictures showing Snoop Dogg and Justin Bieber wearing its nano watch bands.
Today, Apple is three weeks away from releasing the “real” Apple Watch — a product that clearly shares the old iPod nano’s DNA, but was thoroughly redesigned from top to bottom. Yet despite including a battery that’s around twice as powerful as the nano’s, the Watch is promising only 18 hours of typical battery life, maxing out at three days if used solely as a watch in a low-power mode. So when I ran a “watch-only” test of my used four-year-old nano and found that it ran for just over three weeks, keeping perfect time without ever touching a charger (or synchronizing with an atomic clock), I was genuinely surprised. It turns out that Apple really optimized the nano to work well as a timepiece without requiring constant recharging. So what happened with the Apple Watch?…
Wired video abuses ultra-protective iPhone cases, two withstand slams, one even survives falling safe
Most cases will protect your iPhone during regular use, and many can handle accidental drops and a little abuse, but very few can withstand deliberate punishment. An amusing new Battle Damage video from Wired uses abusive tests to crown the “toughest iPhone case ever” from four different ultra-protective models: Griffin’s $50 Survivor,* LifeProof’s $80 Fre, Lunatik’s $125 Taktik Extreme, and Otterbox’s $50 Defender. The iPhone 5 units inside the Griffin Survivor and LifeProof Fre don’t make it through the first test, a hard smash of the encased iPhone on a hard floor, but Lunatik’s Extreme and Otterbox’s Defender go onto a second test: attempting to withstand a 50-pound safe while standing in a completely vertical position.
Unless you’re planning to drop a safe on your upright iPhone, the smaller and more affordable Defender seems like a smarter choice. But only Lunatik’s metal-reinforced Extreme survived the safe-dropping test; an iPhone 6 version hasn’t yet been released. Most people will do just fine with regular iPhone cases (or great iPhone battery cases), but if you want something that can protect against Looney Tunes-like antics, check out the video for some nice camera work and screen-shattering fun.
[* Note: Wired claims that the Griffin Survivor case shown in the video is Survivor Slim, but it looks more likely to be Survivor + Catalyst, a now-discontinued $80 model that was marketed as waterproof. Thanks, Nick!]
Accessory maker LunaTik today teased a new protective product for the upcoming Apple Watch. Not many features of the Epik Apple Watch Kit have been revealed, but the case is said to provide a level of water resistance that should allow you to use it while swimming, showering, or engaging in many other water-related activities.
Of course, Tim Cook recently said that the Apple Watch will be showerproof, which means the device may already have a similar level of water resistance. All will be revealed when all of the watch’s details are revealed on March 9th. The Apple Watch will go on sale in April, but no date has been given for the Epik kit.