Analyst Suggests Third-Generation Apple Watch Will Include Cellular Connectivity

Based on supply chain analysis following a trip to Asia, Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Christopher Rolland (via Barron's) believes Apple's third-generation Apple Watch may introduce cellular connectivity, a feature that's been long rumored for the device.

Specifically, Rolland suggests the 2017 Apple Watch will include a SIM card for LTE connectivity and that the next-generation device will be promoted alongside the AirPods.

We understand a model of the next Apple watch will include a SIM card, and therefore is likely to support LTE. We understand some issues remain, including battery life and form factor size, but significant progress has been made. Apple may be employing VOIP and data across a CAT-M1 connection for superior battery life.

Apple will tout interoperability with the company's AirPods (now on back order till May) to make and receive phone calls (perhaps a small win for Maxim with amps in each ear bud). Positive QCOM, MXIM.

Apple has likely been working to add a cellular modem to the Apple Watch for several years, but has been unable to do so due to excessive battery drain. In early 2016, rumors suggested the second-generation Apple Watch would include cellular connectivity, but that didn't pan out.

Mid-2016 rumors indicated Apple was researching low-power cellular chips for future versions of the Apple Watch, but was unable to make it work for the second-generation device, so the technology could potentially be ready for inclusion in a 2017 Apple Watch.

The addition of standalone cellular connectivity would further untether the Apple Watch from the iPhone, a process that started with the introduction of GPS in the Apple Watch Series 2. With a cellular connection, Apple Watch owners would not need an iPhone nearby to do things like make phone calls and stream Apple Music content, but a separate data plan would likely be needed.

Other Apple Watch 3 rumors have pointed towards a modest update that focuses mainly on under-the-hood hardware improvements to boost performance and battery life, and while we haven't heard much information on a third-generation device, a refresh could come alongside the iPhone 8 in September.

Today's report from Rolland also touches on some previously mentioned 2017 rumors, suggesting all three rumored iPhone models will feature wireless charging capabilities and will be charged through pads manufactured by Pegatron and Foxconn. "There is some skepticism regarding charging efficiency," writes Rolland, "as it may take 3 hours to receive a full charge."

While long-range contactless wireless charging was originally rumored to be included in the 2017 iPhone, later information has centered on inductive charging methods, which would require a separate charging mat or other similar charging device.

The analyst also believes Apple will eliminate the Home button in the iPhone 8, but the Lightning port will stay. He suggests there has been "serious consideration" for removing the Lightning port in 2018, however.

Rolland does not have an established track record for predicting Apple's product plans, but the information he's shared today is not outlandish and echoes past rumors. Still, cellular connectivity for the Apple Watch has been rumored multiple times in the past, so it's worth viewing today's note with some skepticism until additional information is available.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, iPhone 8
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
40 months ago
.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
Yet another thing to add to the monthly bill... this is why I don't see most users taking advantage of this feature if it materialises as there isn't much point but maybe I'm wrong.

While there may have been consideration for removing the Lightning connector, some form of physical connector would have to stay if they made the move in the future, likely some sort of smart connector.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
For what purpose? I see no point in adding it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago

For what reason would you want internet connectivity when doing active water sports?!!

Let's say I'm waiting for an important phone call, or an e-mail or text, but otherwise I'm free during the day. So instead of sitting by the phone all day, I can go out and have a nice surf session while the waves are in peak form. If the information I was waiting on comes in, then I'm notified, can paddle in and attend to business. Or I can swim laps while waiting, and thus don't have to miss a workout. This is the single most important thing about the iPhone too, yet I can't take the iPhone everywhere. I can take the watch.

For those of us who get it, it is a god-send. For those who don't, turn it off, or buy the non-cellular model. Simple.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
Apple once again holding back features and slowly trickling them out each year.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
40 months ago
Series 3 to include cellular, camera and 5.5" display.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker Claims New 13-inch MacBook Pro Coming as Soon as Next Month

Monday April 6, 2020 2:56 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple will announce a new 13-inch MacBook Pro in May with the codename J223, according to a rumor shared by YouTuber and leaker Jon Prosser. Note: it’s a refresh to the current 13” So the bigger 14” display upgrade is a big possibility— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) April 4, 2020 Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor keyboards ...

iOS 14 Could Offer Home Screen Widgets, Wallpaper Customizations

Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30 pm PDT by Frank McShan
iOS 14 could offer home screen widgets and wallpaper customizations for the first time, according to 9to5Mac and Twitter user DongleBookPro. Apple is reportedly working to implement widgets that can be moved freely around like icons on the iPhone and iPad homescreen for the very first time. The feature is reportedly codenamed "Avocado" and no other details are available. It was also...

'Leaked' Images Allegedly Show iPhone 12 With Smaller Notch, Rear Camera Redesign, and Home Screen Widgets

Tuesday April 7, 2020 4:28 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Two images shared on social media this morning are currently stoking speculation about possible hardware redesigns coming to the iPhone 12 and the potential introduction of Home screen widgets in iOS 14. Shared by Twitter user Fudge (choco_bit), the images depict a front and rear graphical representation of a smartphone with interface elements on the screen, suggesting it came out of a...

More References to Apple's Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Appear Online

Monday April 6, 2020 4:38 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Further references to Apple's upcoming low-cost iPhone have appeared online, one on a Chinese e-commerce website and another on Verizon's smartphone trade-in page. Spotted by tech blog MySmartPrice, Chinese retailer JD.com has published a placeholder for Apple's so-called "iPhone 9" that includes a teaser image of a veiled smartphone, but other than that it lacks any particularly revealing...

The New York Times, IFTTT, Medium, and Other Apps Adopt Sign in With Apple Ahead of June 30 Deadline

Sunday April 5, 2020 7:08 pm PDT by Frank McShan
Apps with sign-in functionality, including The New York Times, IFTTT, Medium, and more, have continued to adopt Apple's secure Sign in with Apple feature ahead of a deadline of June 30. The deadline for these apps to support the feature was recently extended from April 30. Sign in with Apple, first introduced in iOS 13, allows users to create accounts for apps and websites using an Apple ID. ...

Some Users Experiencing System Crashes on macOS 10.15.4, Especially During Large File Transfers

Monday April 6, 2020 8:17 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
A sizeable number of Mac users are experiencing occasional system crashes after updating to macOS Catalina version 10.15.4, released a few weeks ago. The crashing issue appears to be most prominent when users attempt to make large file transfers. In a forum post, SoftRAID described the issue as a bug and said that it is working with Apple engineers on a fix for macOS 10.15.5, or a...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1 With Fix for FaceTime Bug

Tuesday April 7, 2020 10:06 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1, minor updates that come two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.4, major updates that introduced iCloud Folder Sharing, a new Mail toolbar, trackpad support for the iPad, and more. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General...

Top Stories: Apple Leaks iPhone SE and AirTags, Apple Buys Dark Sky, and More

Saturday April 4, 2020 6:00 am PDT by MacRumors Staff
With the calendar rolling over to April this week, we yet again saw several leaks and rumors, most notably including Apple itself leaking some references to a pair of long-rumored products: a new budget iPhone SE and AirTags item trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple also acquired popular weather app Dark Sky, while Amazon's Prime Video app now allows...

Apple Reportedly Targeting WWDC for Over-Ear Headphones Launch, New 'AirPods X' Later in the Year

Tuesday April 7, 2020 7:00 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Rumors of Apple-branded over-ear headphones have been circulating for quite some time, while more recent rumors have mentioned an "AirPods Pro Lite" that could also be in the works, and Twitter leaker Jon Prosser's recent foray into Apple rumors provides a bit more detail on what we might able to expect for these products. Current Beats Studio3 Wireless and BeatsX On the over-ear side,...

Apple Donating Over 20 Million Masks to Healthcare Professionals, Producing Face Shields With Suppliers

Sunday April 5, 2020 2:51 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple CEO Tim Cook today shared a video message with an update on the company's response to the ongoing pandemic. Cook said Apple has now sourced over 20 million masks that it is in the process of donating to healthcare professionals around the world. Apple is working with governments to ensure that the masks are donated to the places of greatest need. Cook added that Apple's design,...