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The next Apple Watch reportedly won't have cellular connectivity

Apple is widely expected to introduce the next generation of the Apple Watch before the end of the year, and today Bloomberg has some details on what to expect — and what’s getting left out. While the next-gen Watch is expected to include GPS capabilities to aid with location tracking and movement without your phone, it’ll still require your phone for most everything else. The report indicates that Apple was hoping to include a full-fledged cellular chip so the Watch could run entirely on its own, without needing to be connected to an iPhone, but that won’t happen this time out.

That’s because of the battery drain that a cellular radio would necessitate — apparently the experience would just be too compromised right now. However, it sounds like Apple was still able to add a GPS chip, itself a relatively power-hungry component. But with Apple’s focus on health and fitness tracking, a GPS chip will make the next Apple Watch far better at both navigation and determining running and walking distances.

Eventually, Apple’s goal is to uncouple the Watch and iPhone entirely, but for now it sounds like the experience of using the next-gen Apple Watch won’t be wildly different than what’s out there now. This marks a change from a rumor we heard in April, which indicated the next Watch would include a cellular chip. In all likelihood, no matter what happens, we’ll see the next Watch unveiled this fall — probably at Apple’s annual September event that’ll also take the wraps off the next iPhone.

About the author

Nathan Ingraham

27 Comments

  • My Apple Watch proves it worth daily and I wouldn’t want to be without it. You obviously haven’t looked closely at the Apple Watch.

  • are these smartwatches still a thing…people i know that bought a android wear or the iwatch, who always used to rave on about what they could do…now only use it to tell the time and maybe control the music on their phones without taking it out of their pocket…they really dont do much with it anymore.
    One thing i really hope apply do is change the design of the iWatch because it doesnt look premium…it looks like a toy, even when placed next to some of the android wear devices.
    I had a smartwatch (Sony Smart watch -not the live watch) before any of these devices were out so i can tell you, compared to what i had (barring the GPS feature) these new smartwatches havent changed at all or eveolved in a good way. the one major issue is still present…the wtahces still last 1-2 days, battery needs to be longer, at least 5 days to a week to make them feel more like watches.
    I dont know, these things have been brought back so many times it just feels that they wont ever catch on until they are fully autonomous devices at a reasonal size to wear on your wrist that has a decent battery life.

  • Does calling other people morons make you feel smart? Does liking a brand make one a moron? I like the Apple Watch because it’s the most advanced and refined smart watch. I’ve used many. It’s not the best at everything, but it’s got the best overall list of strengths of any on the market, and has the best build quality. I definitely like the looks of various round watches in the android world better.

  • Round is illogical for a smartwatch. Is your television, monitor, tablet, or smartphone round? If all a smartwatch did was display analog time then round would make sense but for a device that diaplays data, images, application interfaces, remote viewfinders, and video Apple make the most functional chioce with a rectangular display.

  • Hopefully they will make it round and not as god damn fugly as version 1.0, If it just an iPhone Accessory as the last one, they should also slash the price to 1/3 of version 1. The novelty has run off. And the only ones i see using v1 are morons who just buy it because they like the brand.

  • It sounds like the new Apple Watch might finally be approaching feature parity with a two year old Microsoft Band. That must be exciting for almost no-one.

  • It’s the dream of only few to have a f-ing tiny display on an ugly wrist-attached device. The “dream” future is heads-up displays.. preferably in the form of lenses that could get enough voltage over wireless to act as displays… And then mic/earpieces to control everything trough voice commands an eye movements.
    Today i’d rather take a slim smartband + bt headphones and a tablet than a tiny phone with a tiny screen couled with a fat watch with an even tinier screen. Its a useless device as it doensnt really add anything of real importance that isnt already in a tight package in the smartphones today.

  • Someday: I will not need a smartphone, because I will have a watch and tablet. The watch will be the boss, it will be the hotspot for my tablet. I never need to carry a phone because my watch will do the key mobile functions while the tablet will cover the display-centric functions and can be left behind most of the time. When you think about it the smart phone is a compromise, tiny display yet still too large to avoid a pocket bulge. Unfortunately today that’s impossible because of power. This article shows my dream is still quite far away.

  • I don’t. I often leave my phone at home when I am going out. Even when I am having a BBQ at home I will generally leave my phone inside, where I can’t hear it ring.
    The main purpose it seems to serve is to interrupt what I am doing. In fact, if I had a landline I probably wouldn’t even bother with a mobile any more. Like nanogiga, I’d much rather a small tablet (8″) with a 4G data connection than a smartphone.

  • GPS would be nice if it didn’t consume too much battery life and could easily be turned off/on when needed. For me cell connectivity just isn’t worth the battery drain and extra carrier fees at this point though.

  • I’ve never once wished my apple watch had cell connectivity. Who doesn’t have their phone with them at all times? It would be nice, but its not really needed.

  • What do you mean connect directly to the Internet? The watch already connects directly to any Wi-Fi access point. I suppose if the app on the watch is tethered to the app on the phone then yes, you’re adding complexity and an extra handoff. But for call Apple services including music, texting, iCloud Etc, The watch only needs Wi-Fi and no phone is needed.

  • If anything, the Apple watch needs a 5Ghz wifi connection rather than cellular. The current watch can use wifi to connect back to the iPhone when it’s out of bluetooth range. They should also allow the watch to use it’s wifi connection to access the internet directly, this should speed up the apps.

  • Same features? As if Fitbit or any other company will ever have Watch OS… lol. Most companies will need to rely on a Open Source OS, fitbit doesn’t even have one so why even compare.

  • Nope, the Apple Watch is not a re-branded product with Apple’s name on it. (I wonder where you got that ridiculous idea from)

    The Apple Watch, like all other Apple products (all Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Apple TV, etc.) is completely an Apple product.
    All of the research, development, design, etc. is exclusively done by Apple. Even the A-series processor, and other internal components are Apple only products.
    Like almost every other tech company in the world, things like fabrication, assembly, transportation, and packaging are done by suppliers.
    Your comment that people just “pay for a logo” only reveals your own lack of knowledge and limited intelligence.
  • Of course they wouldn’t. Apple has spent decades building up their brand. That is a very important thing to Apple and all of their customers. Fit bit is new to the scene so they have still have a long way to go before their customers are going to treat them like apples customers treat Apple.

  • I wonder if people would be so excited about an Apple watch if it had the same exact features but was brought out by a company like Fitbit, etc. You see I did not say made by Apple. Since they have another company make it like other companies do.
    But since it has the Apple name on it we can charge so much for it and people will buy it no matter what. They certainly like to pay for a logo.

  • I was surprised when the report it would have it’s own cell connectivity, to good to be true, people don’t want to pay extra for data,

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