The New Apple Watch Is Basically Also A Smartphone

All images: Screenshot

It might look the same, but the latest smartwatch from Apple sounds like it will be a lot more powerful. Today, at an event held in the brand new Steve Jobs Theatre on the soon-to-open Apple Campus, Jeff Williams, Chief Operating Officer at Apple, showed off the Apple Watch Series 3, which features a new processor that should make it faster and more power-efficient, as well as, more crucially, cellular connectivity.

The latter is considered a major boon, as with cellular support the new Apple Watch will not need a phone in order to pull off crucial smartwatch tasks like texts, voice calls, and weather forecasts. The new connectivity should also allow the Series 3 to do things like allow wearers to chuck the phone and navigate via Apple Maps, listen to music on one's wireless headphones, or even order takeout.

Most smartwatches with cellular support are huge thanks to the need to pack in antennas and other necessary components, but the Series 3 will be the same size as the Series 2. That's accomplished by doing cool things like making the whole display the antenna.

LTE has previously been excluded from Apple wearables to conserve battery. The theory goes that the little antenna constantly pinging a cell tower would greatly drain a device that already has only 24-48 hours of solid use.

Besides cellular support, the Series 3 has a new processor with a claimed 70-per cent improvement in speed. It also includes the new W2 wireless chip. Apple introduced the W1 last year in its EarPods and other headphones from Beats, and it was a huge improvement over the standard Bluetooth chips used in other devices. The W2 might double down on those advances.

Additionally, Apple has also introduced a new grey colour in ceramic, and a bunch of new bands.

The new Series 3 will retail for $US399 ($497) with cellular and $US329 ($410), the much slower Series 1 will be $US249 ($310). Last year's Series 2 appears to have been retired. The new watches go on sale September 22nd and will be available for retail September 15th.

And Apple is going to need a cool factor if it hopes to fend off Fitbit, which is launching its own smartwatch, the Ionic, next month. While that watch won't have LTE it will have nearly a week of battery life.




    An Apple Watch that isn't a gimmick... If it really is capable of replacing a phone I'll probably buy one. It's apple's (and Samsung's) fault that phones keep getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

      And thank God for them making the screens larger and larger. In fact they're not large enough as far as I'm concerned. You must have tiny tiny hands.

        No, just practical hands. My phone barely fits in my top pocket now, which is where I keep it at work to stop it filling with dirt. In addition to this, why do I need an ever larger screen? If I want to watch video, I have an iPad, or even a TV for that task. Bigger isn't better.

          I find everything is easier with a larger screen but i use my phone like my computer. Yes agree with you with phones falling out your pockets. Mine has hit concrete far too many times. That's why i like wider phones instead of these tall skinny phones. They don't sit far enough down in your pocket to keep it from falling out.

            I think we are on the verge of converting you here.

            In response to your other reply about twats without earphones talking into their watches. I think that's the part I'm interested in. I'll use earbuds, but when I don't, I know I'm going to feel like I've just returned from the future with my portable videophone! Might even wear a silver tracksuit to complete the look.

        It can't replace a phone, it has to be tied to the iPhone's number. Its an add on, but it will function independently once paired with an iPhone (you have to have an iPhone!).

      The most unfortunate thing is if you want the big juicy battery, you need the big phone. I'll be going a Plus this time around for the larger battery more than any other reason. I already know the size will peeve me off, but I feel like I end up charging far too often already.

      Unfortunately, for me, it still fills the space of useless devices we don't actually need. The notification aspect of it, for me is just annoying. I turn almost all notifications off on my phone except for the main ones i.e. messages and emails. As a fitness device i think the other fitness orientated devices are probably better at performing that function. As for replacing the phone entirely I don't think it is possible due screen size.

      But i am biased as i love classic automatic watches and would never replace it with something i need to charge every couple of days and provides zero benefit over other devices.

        See, this is strange, I agree with most of what you've said, but disagree with your conclusion. I also turn off most notifications except SMS and email. Screen size doesn't bother me as I've said in another thread, I'd rather it be tiny, I've got an iPad, a laptop and a TV to use if I need to watch anything. And as for replacing replacing my phone entirely, you are probably right, it probably can't do that 100% of the time, but if it means I can leave the phone at home when I go out, or in my bag when I'm at work, then I'm already sold.

        Also I too like old watches, but I prefer mechanical self winders. On the days I chose to wear one of those, the the full phone will have to come back into service.

        I mean a plain old mechanical watch. Self wind is automatic....

    Can it work entirely without a phone from the moment you pull it out of the box? That's what I want to know. I'm guessing it needs to pair with a phone for app installs at least?

    I want to ditch my phone completely so this matters to me

      I think my answer is on the website
      Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) requires an iPhone 6 or later with iOS 11 or later

      So there goes my dream. I'd still like to know if the phone is required for anything more than the setup experience & installing apps. If it isn't needed day to day then I could probably work around it.

      Why would you want to ditch your phone ? You can't do shit on a watch unless you just want the time and be able to call people although you'd look a twat doing that in public.

        It's possibly not the Apple Watch users that are the twats. If you haven't gotten over people using hands free in public by now you never will.
        I'm with @horsesauce that is exactly how I would use an Apple Watch. I'm typing on an iPhone 6 so if it works as he is saying, I'm in.

          Yeah, horsesauce explained it to me. He'll use it with earpiece and that makes total sense. Standing there talking to your watch would look silly but with earpiece, perfect.

        I rarely make calls and when I do I use BT headphones with mic, which I could still do with a Watch.

        Also the Watch looks to do everything I need while out and about, everything else I can do on my Surface. I spend way too much time with my phone doing useless stuff.

        I'd happily ditch my iPhone and laptop for an Apple Watch LTE and iPad Pro combo, with an actual PC at home for power use.

    Apple's site says, for the watch to work independently from the phone it is paired to it "must share the same carrier" as the phone.

    I use Kogan prepaid (cause it's crazy cheap), which itself uses the vodafone network. Anyone know if they will work together?

    Many predicted that it would be the third generation that was worth having and it seems pretty accurate today.
    They kind of skimmed over whether having an e-sim linked to your phone would cost more with the carrier. It's currently possible to get a second sim on the same account at no extra cost or to share data etc between accounts. I think it would be a bit of a deal breaker for me if I had to pay another $10 or more a month to have an activated e-sim. Hopefully carrier competition might stop this from being the case.

      Currently its looking likely that it'll be $10/month. It seems Voda is the only carrier with a pure wearable plan (Huawei Watch 2). The only thing I can think of is that carriers will do a deal for both and so you can just pay the one price?

Join the discussion!