Apple has continued to improve its smartwatch portfolio over the years, with the latest one – the Apple Watch Series 6 – adding the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation levels. However, one area where things haven’t improved much is battery life, as Apple’s latest-and-greatest usually lasts just over a full day of usage. However, the company might have a solution to fix the battery longevity on the Apple Watch by sacrificing the need for a dedicated haptic engine, or as Apple likes to call it, the Taptic Engine.
As per a patent filed before the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) that was spotted by the folks over at Apple Insider, Apple is experimenting with a moving battery element for producing haptic feedback instead of relying on a dedicated engine that takes up crucial space. Titled Portable Electronic Device Having a Haptic Device with a Moving Battery Element, the patent suggests that a dedicated haptic engine takes up space, and then some additional space so that it can move to provide the vibration feedback. However, it can be removed to fit in a larger battery to do its job.
“The haptic device may include a battery element electrically coupled to the display, a magnetic element, and a coil assembly fixed with respect to the enclosure and configured to induce an oscillatory movement of the battery element parallel to the display to produce the haptic output,” says the patent description.
Apple’s patent describes a ‘haptic device that moves a battery element in order to produce a tactilely perceptible pulse or vibration along an exterior surface of the device.’ As expected, the haptic output will be produced in response to a touch input received by the display that results in some graphical UI change on the screen, letting users know that their touch input has been registered.
Apple’s idea is definitely clever and might prove to be a major step towards improving the battery life of its upcoming smartwatches. However, do keep in mind that this is a patent filing we’re talking about here, which means the idea might never be implemented and fails to appear on an Apple Watch in the future.