Apple to launch cellular connected Apple Watch later this year, report says

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited August 2017
A report on Friday claims Apple is planning to release a version of Apple Watch this fall with an integrated cellular LTE chipset, allowing the device to connect to offsite servers without the help of iPhone.




Citing sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports Intel will supply wireless modems for select next-generation Watch models later this year. The device or devices will likely debut at Apple's iPhone launch event which traditionally takes place in September.

Beyond the inclusion of LTE connectivity, the report was light on details, but noted the new Watch version will be able to conduct a number of online tasks without the aid of a paired iPhone. With the new functionality, users will be able to download new songs in Music and ferry data to connected apps, the report said.

In an interview aired on Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said an LTE Apple Watch is likely follow in the footsteps of cellular iPads, meaning its wireless feature set will revolve around data, not voice features. Currently, iPad hardware lacks a first-party phone app, leaving telephony functions the sole domain of iPhone. Other potential functions could include app updates, notifications and more.

Apple is said to be talking to wireless providers in both the U.S. and Europe about carrying the new Apple Watch iteration, the report said. Initially, only a "limited subset" of carriers that already carry iPhone is expected to offer support for the LTE Apple Watch. In the U.S., however, all three major networks -- AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile -- plan to sell the device, the report said.

Finally, Bloomberg hedged its bets, saying Apple could end up delaying the LTE Apple Watch beyond 2017. Previous rumors suggested the tech giant would release a cellular connected wearable in 2016, but the hardware failed to materialize. Instead, the company released Apple Watch Series 2, a device that offered enhanced untethered performance with the inclusion of a GPS module.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    It will be interesting to see the cost of these data plans.  Hopefully much less than phone plans since the Watch will exchange much less data per month than a typical phone.
    jbdragonbshankflashfan207radarthekatrepressthis
  • Reply 2 of 34
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,291member
    The Killer App feature using LTE on AW is the emergency function. Activate it and 911 gets your location to send assistance. A reciprocal function would make it even better: once enabled by the wearer a iPhone/iCloud user could use it to track and contact that wearer in case of an emergency (e.g. when a kid goes missing.)
    stanthemancgWerksanton zuykovwaverboywatto_cobralostkiwifotoformatiqatedorepressthis
  • Reply 3 of 34
    robjnrobjn Posts: 203member
    I doubt it.

    Surely, cellular connectivity would heavily impact the battery. The pattern of usage would change with cellular in a way that would put heavy demands on the battery. Battery life needs to be extended first. This has been rumored on and off since before Apple Watch was even first announced.

    I believe the Watch should be repositioned to replace the iPod.

    1) It should have the option to run it without ever connecting to an iPhone or a computer. With functionality that focuses on music and activity monitoring.

    2) Give it more memory and ability to download music via wifi and manage it.

    Now you have a device that non-Apple iPhone owners can use. It is a stepping stone into the Apple ecosystem. With an iPhone it becomes even more powerful.




    repressthis
  • Reply 4 of 34
    I think that not having to pair it with the phone will be the killer app. If I try to imagine how the watch would feel without constantly having to think about how far is is away from your phone, a true stand alone thing, wow! Running with it without taking your phone along. I'd go for it. 
    stanthemanflashfan207lostkiwifotoformatrepressthis
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Curious about power management. Will there be charging on the go? I assume it can use my iPhone's data plan, with no incremental fee.

    Will the Watch plus AirPod replace iPod?
    repressthis
  • Reply 6 of 34
    davendaven Posts: 506member
    Dick Tracy here we come...
    edited August 2017
  • Reply 7 of 34
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    My biggest problem with my Apple Watch is the heavy reliance that all apps still have on the iPhone.

    For example I was in London for work and wanted to use an app on my watch for simple route planning on the Tube.

    It wouldn't require internet functionality as the map works offline on my iPhone so no reason not for it to work on the watch for a simple station to station guide, yet no app would work without the phone and th speed was useless. In the end I just went back to pulling out my iPhone.

    For me it is situations like this that really stop the watch being of true value outside of a fitness device.


    cgWerkswilliamlondonlostkiwirepressthisstompy
  • Reply 8 of 34
    I think that not having to pair it with the phone will be the killer app. If I try to imagine how the watch would feel without constantly having to think about how far is is away from your phone, a true stand alone thing, wow! Running with it without taking your phone along. I'd go for it. 
    Many who dismissed the Apple Watch as an expensive iPhone accessory would certainly give it a second look, for sure. 
  • Reply 9 of 34
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,034member
    I don;t know how to feel about having Cell service built in. It's not anything new. It really hasn't gone anywhere. People ask for it but then what? You're paying another $10+ a month for Data service to your watch. So at minimum you're going to be forking out $120 a year just for your watch. How often will you be with your watch only and not have your phone to make the cost worth it for you?

    I've left my phone in my work office a few times and yet my Apple Watch is still connected, even though I'm up stairs and on the other side of the factory. Why? Because both are still connected over the same Wifi Network. I can still take a phone call on the watch. Be in the bathroom and read a little news without my phone anywhere near me. I can set my phone down anywhere in my house and my watch works fully like always. I don't go Jogging, and I know people bring that one situation up. Don't want to carry a phone while jogging. Maybe not being bothered by phone calls while jogging is a good thing? You can't put the world on hold for a hour?

    Who would use it as their primary device? It's all about the big screen, and you want to do everything on a Tiny screen? I do a lot with my Apple Watch. It's a great device, and the perfect phone accessory. I guess with Cell service, you can jog and stream music to it? It's a RUMOR, so we'll see what happens.

    macpluspluswilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 34
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,825member
    What is the point of LTE on a smartwatch except for people who want to run without a phone?
    macpluspluswilliamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 34
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,027member
    robjn said:
    I doubt it.
    Surely, cellular connectivity would heavily impact the battery. 
    ...
    I believe the Watch should be repositioned to replace the iPod.
    ...
    Now you have a device that non-Apple iPhone owners can use. It is a stepping stone into the Apple ecosystem. With an iPhone it becomes even more powerful.
    That's what I'm thinking too. Maybe for *very* limited data in short spurts. I could just be quite behind in my knowledge of such things, but I just can't see how it's even possible to stuff enough battery in there to do much more than that. You run into physics at some point.

    The problem with it replacing the iPod, to me, is the lack of a 3.5mm jack, but I seem to be among only a few that care anymore?

    For an Apple Watch to be useful for me, it kind of has to get to this point though. Unless it can *replace* the phone for a certain set of things, it's just a fancy accessory (I don't need, or even really want).

    saarek said:
    For me it is situations like this that really stop the watch being of true value outside of a fitness device.
    And as I've noted before (to much controversy), it isn't really that great for fitness either, aside from a few specific medical verticals.

    flashfan207 said:
    Many who dismissed the Apple Watch as an expensive iPhone accessory would certainly give it a second look, for sure. 
    Yes, if it gets this, and it goes far enough, I'll eat some of my words on it. (Though I did point out that if it ever got to this point, it *might* gain my interest.)

    jbdragon said:
    I guess with Cell service, you can jog and stream music to it? It's a RUMOR, so we'll see what happens.
    I don't think there will be much music streaming (I suppose I could be wrong). But, being able to *just* have the Watch and still have emergency kinds of contact or some basic data (texts, a shopping list, etc.) would make it useful. Also, it needs enough storage to do things like hold some music, podcasts, maps, etc. as you're not going to have enough battery to pull down that kind of stuff.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 34
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,619member
    I doubt it would be used for normal LTE functions you might use your phone for, at least in first generations:  more likely database connectivity for things like health services, location etc. It probably wouldn't be used for browsing, complex emails or streaming using gigs of data at first.
    Battery life will be the big constraint, but even with that limitation, apps will be developed that come up with incredible uses yet to be thought of. Because really cool apps are the key to future AW sales that differentiate it from other smart watches.
    eSIm no doubt, and I wonder what sort of plan it would have? built in as part of the purchase price, or an add on to the iCloud subscription perhaps? 
    edited August 2017 Soli
  • Reply 13 of 34
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,840member
    eightzero said:
    The Killer App feature using LTE on AW is the emergency function. Activate it and 911 gets your location to send assistance. A reciprocal function would make it even better: once enabled by the wearer a iPhone/iCloud user could use it to track and contact that wearer in case of an emergency (e.g. when a kid goes missing.)
    I imagine if someone were kidnapped, the very first thing the kidnapper would do is get rid of all known tracking devices. 
  • Reply 14 of 34
    WoW this could be big!!
    If this is real it might actually cannibalise iPhone sales might actually be a stepping stone towards the end of mobile phone era for many people. 
    Either through Skype, iChat or WhatsApp or any other call service. But this might actually serve as a real replacement for a phone for a number of people.
    Classic Apple cannibalising its own product and in the process competing with itself. Simply Brilliant!!!
  • Reply 15 of 34
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,291member
    eightzero said:
    The Killer App feature using LTE on AW is the emergency function. Activate it and 911 gets your location to send assistance. A reciprocal function would make it even better: once enabled by the wearer a iPhone/iCloud user could use it to track and contact that wearer in case of an emergency (e.g. when a kid goes missing.)
    I imagine if someone were kidnapped, the very first thing the kidnapper would do is get rid of all known tracking devices. 
    Yes, and when that happens, the device marks the spot. Far better than nothing. I'm not law enforcement, but I think it possible kidnappers don't plan that well. Many kidnappings are at the hands of family members. They *might* think to ditch a cell phone.

    My iPhone can be set to let me know when a friend leaves or arrives at a location. I can see some child protective mode being developed. If the watch comes off, it alerts a parent. And no comparable samsung/android product (that I know of.) I can see it being a selling point for parents.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 34
    I would be all over this!  Running.  Biking.  Skiing.  I have been waiting for LTE service to not have to carry my phone during sports activities.  As long as I can answer an emergency work call, text or email, I will 100% buy this.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    While I think that the "runners" (and others like them) are one group that would benefit from this device, I can't imagine the device was developed with only them in mind, I just don't think they're a big enough market. In fact, I think it's much bigger than that. I think it's the future coming here now.

    As some in this thread have already mentioned, it could easily be a replacement iPod (which they just killed off recently), that's true. But now think about it with phone functionality (which would render the iPhone a different type of device for those users). Imagine you had Ear Pods (or something similar) and an LTE AW, you could make phone calls without an iPhone, meaning the whole way we think of phones and making phone calls will change (again). Will the device in your pocket still be considered a phone if you make calls with your wearable device (which you most likely would have on your person more often than the iPhone in your pocket or purse)?

    It's quite exciting to imagine how use cases of devices will change with tech advances like this. Still a long way to go till it'll be a seamless replacement of different functions, but it's got to start somewhere at some point, and I think we already did that when the whole wearables fad began a few years ago. This is just the next step in the evolution of our devices.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    phredphred Posts: 10member
    This article gives the impression you can't make phone calls on an I pad.You can, through services, such as Skype.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 34
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    While I think that the "runners" (and others like them) are one group that would benefit from this device, I can't imagine the device was developed with only them in mind, I just don't think they're a big enough market. In fact, I think it's much bigger than that. I think it's the future coming here now.

    As some in this thread have already mentioned, it could easily be a replacement iPod (which they just killed off recently), that's true. But now think about it with phone functionality (which would render the iPhone a different type of device for those users). Imagine you had Ear Pods (or something similar) and an LTE AW, you could make phone calls without an iPhone, meaning the whole way we think of phones and making phone calls will change (again). Will the device in your pocket still be considered a phone if you make calls with your wearable device (which you most likely would have on your person more often than the iPhone in your pocket or purse)?

    It's quite exciting to imagine how use cases of devices will change with tech advances like this. Still a long way to go till it'll be a seamless replacement of different functions, but it's got to start somewhere at some point, and I think we already did that when the whole wearables fad began a few years ago. This is just the next step in the evolution of our devices.
    Most people don't "make phone calls" at all these days, if your under 30, your doing much of your communicating in text form. So, how does that fit into that... Dictation of your texts :-), or just sending short voice messages like in push to talk walkie talkies...
  • Reply 20 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,680member
    robjn said:
    I doubt it.

    Surely, cellular connectivity would heavily impact the battery. The pattern of usage would change with cellular in a way that would put heavy demands on the battery. Battery life needs to be extended first. This has been rumored on and off since before Apple Watch was even first announced.

    I believe the Watch should be repositioned to replace the iPod.

    1) It should have the option to run it without ever connecting to an iPhone or a computer. With functionality that focuses on music and activity monitoring.

    2) Give it more memory and ability to download music via wifi and manage it.

    Now you have a device that non-Apple iPhone owners can use. It is a stepping stone into the Apple ecosystem. With an iPhone it becomes even more powerful.
    1) If not this year, it will eventually have cellular.

    2) The reason it has to be paired with an iPhone is because Apple wants it that way, and I don't see it ever being a stand alone device where you input your iTunes Store password, then search and purchase songs without ever using another device. Imagine having to manually type in all bank cards for Apple Pay. You can't even pair it with the iPad or iTunes, which I'd think would be the next stepping stone in a long line of wearable evolution.
    edited August 2017
Sign In or Register to comment.