Apple is reportedly planning to launch the latest version of its smartwatch later this year which can connect straight to cellular networks. This is a move by Apple designed to reduce the smartwatch's dependence on the iPhone, people familiar with the matter said. The 4G LTE-support is rumored to roll out this year in Apple Watch Series 3.
At present, Apple requires its smartwatch to be connected wirelessly to an iPhone to stream music, download directions in maps, and send messages. However, if the Apple Watch Series 3 come equipped with LTE chips then it will help in conducting tasks without an iPhone in range, NDTV reported.
Regarding the 4G LTE model, reports mentioned that Intel will be supplying the modems for the new Apple Watch Series 3. However, if this is proven to be true then this will be a big win for the chipmaker, which has been trying for years to get its components into more Apple mobile devices. Until now Qualcomm has been the main modem supplier for iPhones and other Apple mobile gadgets, however, the two companies are involved in a bitter legal dispute. Apple has added Intel as a modem supplier for some iPhones last year, which also hints that LTE modem can be supplied by the same.
Apple is reportedly in talks with carriers in the US and Europe about offering the cellular version. Both carriers will be supporting the 4G LTE, at least at launch. However, AT&T, Verizon Communications, Sprint and T-Mobile in the United States are planning to sell the upcoming Apple Watch. The new device will be delayed beyond 2017 - certainly, the company had already postponed a cellular-capable smartwatch last year, GSM Arena reported.
Apple is said to release an LTE-enabled Apple Watch alongside the iPhone 8 or towards the end of the year. However, according to reports, the Apple Watch series 3 could be delayed into 2018.