Apple may be planning to add a cellular network to the next version of its smartwatch, expected to launch later this year. The move will reduce the watch’s reliance on the iPhone, which needs to be nearby for the watch user to receive texts, notifications, and stream music.
It is not the first time we have heard Apple’s LTE smartwatch, the same rumors were afloat last year. The Bloomberg report acknowledges this, saying the same delays could happen this year.
All four carriers, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile, will support the LTE smartwatch in the United States. International iPhone carriers are expected to support the smartwatch as well.
Intel has potentially snapped the modem supplier position from Qualcomm for the next version of the Apple Watch. It is another signal that Apple is changing its supply chain after a costly legal battle with Qualcomm – the Cupertino-based company already swapped Qualcomm modem for Intel in some of this year’s iPhone models.
LTE is seen as one of the significant battery drainers on smartphones and Apple has reportedly been working hard to ensure that the Watch maintains at least a day battery life.
Looking to make it standalone
Apple is also working hard to make the Watch a more standalone device. WatchOS 4, unveiled at WWDC 2017 in June, adds Siri integration, glanceable news stories, and gym equipment connectivity.
The smartwatch has not taken off as well as Apple, Google, or Samsung hoped a few years ago, but CEO Tim Cook is still confident that the Watch can be a prominent device in the company’s portfolio. In the most recent earnings call, Cook said that the Watch is the best selling smartwatch “by far.”
That is true, but across the entire wearable market Apple sits in third place in overall shipments, behind China’s Xiaomi and Fitbit, although both sell devices at a much lower price point.