Apple just announced a third version of the Apple Watch, the smartwatch it first launched in 2015. Since then, the Apple Watch has evolved into a product that’s really only great at a few things — notifications, fitness, and authentication like payments — but has still largely been an accessory to the iPhone (and iPhone only, since it doesn’t sync with Android phones or desktop computers).
But that could all change, now that Apple’s newest Watch has LTE built in. This means that wearers can truly be without their iPhones and still run all the supported apps on the device. The updated heart rate sensor will provide new information such as resting, recovery, and elevated heart rates — the last of which will only show up if you don’t appear to be physically active. (It’s admittedly a little bit anxiety inducing.) The look and feel of the heart rate sensor are basically the same, though.
Apple Watch the third’s form factor is largely the same as previous models, but with LTE version has a red digital crown to tell it apart. When you swipe up from the screen, you’ll find an LTE icon from the Control Center to signify that you’re online.
The cellular connectivity comes via an electronic SIM card integrated right into the watch. But even though Apple says this means the new Watch is just 0.25mm thicker, or roughly the thickness of two pieces of paper, there does appear to be a noticeable difference. It’s small, but definitely noticeable.
Other than that, most of the updates are on the software side, such as voice responses from Siri and new watchOS 4, which includes the GymKit platform that allows wearers to sync the watch with exercise equipments.
The big question is still what LTE will do to battery life, since Apple Watches without LTE modems technically last 18 hours (although for many people that can translate into a day or day and a half, easily). We won’t know how it fares in the real world until we wear it for at least a few days, though.
The new Apple Watch with LTE starts at $399 and will be available on September 22nd.
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