Smartwatches have been struggling in the market, but by most accounts Apple has managed to have some success with its Apple Watch. They’ve spent time on top of the sales heap in wearables, although sales still aren’t quite as strong as perhaps had been hoped. Well, we’re due for a new version of the Watch soon, and it sounds like Apple will try to sell its customers on it by cutting the connection between Watch and phone.
According to a CNBC report, Apple plans to add network connectivity, likely LTE, to the third generation of the Apple Watch. Rumored to make an appearance alongside the new iPhones next month, the new Watch is said to have a modem made by Intel (per Bloomberg) and may use an integrated eSIM instead of a removable Nano SIM card.
LTE connectivity has its pros and cons. Having separate connectivity means that calls and texts can be made from the Watch without needing to have your phone on you or nearby. For runners, assuming the Watch has its own GPS chip, this means that they can record accurate routes and distances without having to carry their phones with them during runs. On the other hand, cellular connectivity will run down the Watch’s battery life much faster, and the Apple Watch is already known for poor battery life among wearables. Using LTE connectivity will also require adding another line to your wireless bill.
Apple is far from the first to add LTE to smartwatches. Many Android Wear smartwatches, along with Samsung’s Tizen OS watches, have added cellular connectivity over the years — it hasn’t moved the needle much in terms of sales. Apple does tend to succeed with its customers more often than Android hardware makers do, so those past disappointments don’t necessarily spell doom for Apple.
In addition to the benefits LTE connectivity will have for workouts, Apple is rumored to be testing a lot of other health-related features. One rumor we’ve heard frequently is a glucose monitor for diabetics — continuous non-invasive monitoring of blood sugar levels could help diabetics avoid a health scare in real time, and the money that stands to be saved on testing equipment could actually make the Apple Watch a money saver for many. However, some rumors have suggested that Apple is actually planning a series of interchangeable smart bands for the Apple Watch, and that the glucose monitor, if it’s ready, could end up in one of those instead of the Watch itself. We’ll find out for sure in about a month.