Rumor: Here Are Apple’s iWatch Battery Suppliers

Source: iWatch Concept by Todd Hamilton

Source: iWatch Concept by Todd Hamilton

More rumors about Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iWatch battery have emerged from Asian supply chain sources, reports Apple Insider. According to unnamed “industry sources” cited by the Korea Herald, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) SDI, LG Chem, and Tianjin Lishen Battery will be supplying a specialized lithium-ion battery for Apple’s long-rumored wearable tech product. Although Apple has not even confirmed the existence of an iWatch or any other wearable tech product, there have recently been several reports about the potential device’s power source.

The New York Times recently cited an unnamed insider source who reported that Apple may be developing a solar-powered iWatch. The source noted that Apple investigated using a wireless charging station that uses magnetic induction to recharge the iWatch’s battery. The New York Times source also reported that Apple had explored charging the iWatch battery through movement via an internal charging mechanism that harnesses kinetic energy.

However, the Korea Herald’s sources dismissed the idea that Apple would abandon lithium-ion batteries for solar technology. “Since the energy efficiency of solar-charging technology is one-tenth of the lithium-ion battery, it doesn’t make sense to run a gadget with solar power,” stated one of the sources. However, it should be noted that Apple could still use solar technology as a supplemental power source.

Instead of relying on a new battery technology, Apple would instead continue to use traditional lithium-ion batteries, albeit in a unique form. “Apple will utilize LG Chem’s stepped battery since it offers better longevity than others and can be applied for different shapes,” said one of the Korea Herald’s unnamed sources.

Per the Korea Herald, stepped batteries feature layers of batteries in a “step-like” design that more efficiently uses space in the battery pack. The design gives stepped batteries approximately 16 percent more energy efficiency than conventional lithium-ion batteries.

Since the iWatch screen is expected to be less than two inches wide, the Korea Herald’s sources noted that it was unlikely to be curved, since a curved screen would offer no advantages at that size. However, the source also predicted that Apple’s iWatch would feature an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display. OLED displays are considered advantageous for wearable tech products since they can be fabricated on a thin, flexible plastic substrate. The sources reported that Apple would likely release the iWatch sometime in the second half of 2014.

The Korea Herald is not the only Asian news site to recently report an iWatch supply chain rumor. Last month, the Taiwan-based DigiTimes reported that one of Apple’s suppliers had already completed a trial manufacturing run for the iWatch’s chassis.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)

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