New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Apple's Series Three Apple Watch to Include Cellular Connection

Apple's third-generation Apple Watch, set to launch later this year, will include its own LTE for a standalone cellular connection, reports Bloomberg.

With a cellular connection, the new Apple Watch models will be untethered from the iPhone, able to stream music, send messages, download apps, and connect to the internet without the need for an iPhone.


It's not clear if a standalone cellular plan will be needed for the Apple Watch, but it seems likely. According to Bloomberg, only a subset of carriers who sell the iPhone will support the Apple Watch, but in the U.S., AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all plan to offer the LTE Apple Watch when it launches.

Intel, not Qualcomm, will supply the LTE modems for the Apple Watch.

Cellular connectivity for the Apple Watch is not a new rumor - we've been hearing hints of it since before the Series 2 Apple Watch was released last September. Battery issues have reportedly been holding Apple back - a cellular connection drains battery more quickly.

Previous third-generation Apple Watch rumors have suggested Apple is focusing primarily on improving battery life and the company may have made enough progress to compensate for LTE connectivity.

Aside from the inclusion of an LTE chip, not much is known about the next Apple Watch. Rumors have pointed towards a more minor update that focuses on under-the-hood hardware and performance improvements rather than external design changes.

Bloomberg believes the cellular-capable Apple Watch will launch this fall alongside new iPhones, but cautions that the device could be delayed beyond 2017.

Update: The Wall Street Journal has corroborated Bloomberg's report and says Apple will introduce an LTE Apple Watch this year. According to The Wall Street Journal, the cellular Apple Watch will likely be rolled into existing wireless plans for an additional monthly charge, similar to how LTE tablets work.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

18 months ago
Pretty soon the "family" part of "family plan" will mean the various members of your Apple Family (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc.) rather than your biological family. :p
Rating: 36 Votes
18 months ago
Assuming it needs its own plan.. I'm out. This type of thing should be easily connected to a current plan with no up-charge. But this is carriers we are talking about.. they nickle and dime everyone.
Rating: 32 Votes
18 months ago
Steaming Apple Music with just my Apple Watch and AirPods? Yes please!

Imagine going biking or jogging with just a watch and having millions of songs to choose from. No more of this:
Rating: 15 Votes
18 months ago

The only Apple product that needs to be thinner, passed my series 2 never liked the bulky design. Hope it's thinner.


Srsly? Used the S2 for a while now, and stil cant understand why some people complain about that its bulky? Its a beautiful piece of tech.
Rating: 12 Votes
18 months ago
One step closer to a true Dick Tracy watch. Likely data only, no untethered voice or video calls yet.

I suspect it will have an eSIM and perhaps this will be Apple's first foray as a MVNO.




The cellular modem would likely improve battery life by using cellular and wifi location instead of GPS all the time.

Also means they can add a compass and use cellular data to get true vs magnetic north offset based on location.
Rating: 12 Votes
18 months ago
I hope they sell a series 3 without the LTE. I'll be ready to replace my series 0 but am not interested in a stand alone internet device with a postage stamp sized screen.
Rating: 12 Votes
18 months ago
The $10 per month add on for the iPad was a problem for me. You should be able to connect multiple devices to the shared data plan and not be charge for each device. Or maybe a limit. But when you have an iPhone, multiple iPads and now iWatch(s) the $10 per extra device is crazy.
Rating: 10 Votes
18 months ago
Meh. I don't see why I would need a cellular connection for the Watch. Better battery life, and faster internals sounds good though.
Rating: 10 Votes
18 months ago
Battery lasts 3-2-1.... empty.
Rating: 10 Votes
18 months ago

It's not clear if a standalone cellular plan will be needed for the Apple Watch, but it seems likely.


T-Mobile will do us a solid and give it to us for free. #TMobesFTW
Rating: 9 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]