Mark Gurman and compatriots at Bloomberg report that this fall will see a new Apple Watch with cellular networking:
Apple Inc. is planning to release a version of its smartwatch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, a move designed to reduce the device’s reliance on the iPhone, people familiar with the matter said…. Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch, according to another person familiar with the situation.
It’s funny—we talked about this possibility last week on Upgrade. I have felt for a long time that cellular capability is the next big feature for the Apple Watch—watchOS apps can act on their own and the Series 2 model offers GPS, but you still need to take your phone with you in case of emergency. With a cellular connection, you could still take calls, send and receive texts, and even stream audio without bringing your phone along. I always bring my iPhone with me when I exercise for that very reason.
I’m a little surprised that it’s happening this quickly, since Series 2 only arrived last year. But if Apple can get it out the door this quickly, that’s excellent. Being data independent is the Apple Watch’s future—and the sooner it can get there, the better.
John Gruber says that he’s heard there’s an “all-new form factor… for this year’s new watches.” It would be interesting indeed if Apple refreshed the look of the Apple Watch. To be fair, it’s been three years since the original model was unveiled. Still, I’d expected the basic look of the watch to remain unchanged a little while longer.