Apple untethers the Watch Series 3 with a cellular connection

I remember watching Dick Tracy cartoons as a kid, and being totally in love with the two-way wrist communicator the detective used. Apple has now made that possibility a reality with its new Apple Watch Series 3, which comes with built-in cellular connectivity, a first for the product line.

The watch incorporates a full LTE radio that activates with a built-in embedded SIM. If you're near your iPhone, the Watch will default over to that the same way previous models would. If you step away from your handset, though, the Watch automatically switches its radios on and uses the same number as the phone. Apple says the cellular antenna in the watch is built into the display itself, something that the company is calling an industry first.

The watch is powered by Apple's S3 SoC, which the company says is 70% faster than the previous chip and offers faster app launching and smoother graphics. An Apple W2 chip powers the wireless connectivity in the watch. The company says the W2 offers 85% faster Wi-Fi and 50% more efficient power usage while using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. If you don't want to talk directly into your wrist like a cool detective, you can also pair a pair of Apple's AirPods or a Bluetooth headset and go for a totally wireless experience. The new Watch also offers the ability for Siri to talk back to you via the built-in speaker.

The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in two models and a host of colors. Available finishes include a silver, dark gray, or gold aluminum body, or silver or black stainless steel options. The fully-featured Watch Series 3 goes for $399. If you don't want cellular connectivity, you can pick up a GPS-only model for $329. If you just want to get in on the style without going for the newest and latest hardware, the original Apple Watch is dropping to $249. The Apple Watch Series 3 will be available to order on September 15 and will begin selling on September 22.

Comments closed
    • hasseb64
    • 2 years ago

    But can we play DOOM on it?

    • ptsant
    • 2 years ago

    OK, but since I’m not really likely to NOT have the phone, what is the point of the cellular? And if I forget the phone, can I use the watch to call?

    I mean, having to pay an additional data plan must somehow be justified…

      • soccergenius
      • 2 years ago

      Yes, you will be able to make cellular calls with this watch (LTE) when out of BLuetooth range of an iPhone.

    • davidbowser
    • 2 years ago

    This is going in my list of “cool tech but not needed” to be purchased when I have money to burn.

    • cynan
    • 2 years ago

    So that’s $1700 for the 256GB iPhone X, this watch and a pair of airpods… I didn’t know most private detectives were that well paid..

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      The bureau pays for it silly.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    LOL, I’m going to enjoy reading all the complaints of from braindead buyers thinking that a useful cellular connection can be maintained by the 380mAH battery.

    Hahaha, Macrumours.com quote Apple themselves with the caveat that the one-day battery life is only reachable with a mere 4 hours of LTE cellular usage. Essentially, you still need to tether for 14 hours of your waking day, otherwise this thing will be dead without fail before you have lunch.

    • trackerben
    • 2 years ago

    Can it act as hotspot?

    • HERETIC
    • 2 years ago

    Does the cellular connection take it out of the-“Product looking for a reason to exist”category?

      • cynan
      • 2 years ago

      In some ways this is even more redundant because now you’re carrying two devices that duplicate even more functionality.

      A portable, lightweight device that allows you to get news updates and perform basic media and communication functionality, anywhere, anytime? What an ingenious idea!

      The only prerequisite is owning a portable, lightweight device that allows you to get news updates and perform more than basic media and communication functionality, anywhere, anytime!

        • Cuhulin
        • 2 years ago

        One way to resolve the redundancy, however, is not to carry the phone any more. This may be unthinkable to a couple generations of younger people – most people are younger people from my age perspective – but the watch is much more portable. Texting is not fun with it, but since I send and receive, on average, two or three texts a day, that isn’t a big deal for my use case.

    • Star Brood
    • 2 years ago

    Is there some kind of cheap but reliable watch one here might recommend thing that i can use to check the weather, read texts and answer a phone call? I can’t see myself paying more than twenty bucks or so for such a minor convenience.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    Kinda disappointing to me that they’re keeping the Series 1 (which isn’t the same thing as the original model, btw) but dropping Series 2. There were several upgrades in the Series 2 that made it worth buying over the cheap version. Waterproof, brighter screen, the GPS…

    That makes me think the GPS-only Series 3 model isn’t really that big of a step up over the Series 2, at least in terms of experience, unless you want the embedded SIM version.

      • DancinJack
      • 2 years ago

      Agree, though I personally would only get S3. I kinda want one too. Only kinda, though.

    • albundy
    • 2 years ago

    phew, i am so glad samsung wasnt the first to make a cellular smartwatch. did apple put user storage on their watch this time? it’d be nice to actually listen to my own playlist on the go instead of streaming through a music service on cellular for the 5 minute battery life.

      • RealPjotr
      • 2 years ago

      Any Android Wear 2.0 with SIM already does this… LG was first with that. Not sure there were any other decent non-Android with that functionality before?

      • soccergenius
      • 2 years ago

      All Apple Watches to-date have allowed up to 2GB for music. The new Apple Warch S3 LTE bumps total storage from 8GB to 16GB, so a new higher music limit is very likely.

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Three generations not touching that bezel…Its starting to look dated to me, given the iPhone X and Macbook Pro bezel shrinkage. An edge to edge OLED (already has the latter) would be sweet on that.

    • Voldenuit
    • 2 years ago

    No headphone jack?

      • Neutronbeam
      • 2 years ago

      OR touch bar–lame!

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      No, but there is a spot they filled with plastic.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<] The [b<]phone[/b<] is powered by Apple's S3 SoC[/quote<] uh....

      • Shobai
      • 2 years ago

      Same paragraph: ‘poweres’ and ‘W3’/’W2’.

        • morphine
        • 2 years ago

        Thanks for the heads-up. Long day here.

          • Shobai
          • 2 years ago

          No probs, Bob.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      Independent LTE connection, microphone and speaker…Technically not incorrect, the best kind of accidentally correct 😛

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        Ah, touché

      • morphine
      • 2 years ago

      Way too much time spent today watching/reading/writing about phones. Thanks for the heads-up.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        No worries. It was a busy day!

      • southrncomfortjm
      • 2 years ago

      IT CAN MAKE CALLS IT’S A PHONE.

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