With each new generation, Apple is trying to give buyers more reasons to buy its wearable device. The Apple Watch Series 3 brought the LTE support. It allows you to receive and respond to text messages, voice calls, chats, emails, stream music, and do much more while leaving the iPhone at home. The early Series 3 buyers had faced issues with LTE connectivity and WiFi, which Apple has since fixed. The 2018 model, likely to be called Apple Watch Series 4, is rumored to feature a new circuit board technology that would significantly boost the LTE speed.

Apple Watch Series 4 Mickey Mouse Face
Image shot for ValueWalk by Sheeraz Raza

2018 Apple Watch and Macs to get the new circuit board

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans told KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac) that Apple is working with Career to integrate “faster and more versatile” circuit boards in 2018 Macs and Apple Watches. The Cupertino company uses a new flexible circuit board made of a liquid crystal polymer in the current iPhone X and iPhone 8. The flexible circuit board is employed in the antenna designs of both the handsets, as well as in the TrueDepth camera of the iPhone X.

Kuo told investors that this LCP FPCB technology had been praised for its low-latency and high-speed data transfer. It is heat- and moisture-resistant, and is known to be incredibly slim. In the next-gen MacBook lineup, the new circuit board will free up some internal space. It will allow Apple to make the Macs slimmer than before or pack a slightly bigger battery. It would also make it easier to adopt the USB 3.2.

What does it mean for the Apple Watch Series 4? Kuo says the new circuit board would boost the Apple Watch Series 4’s LTE speed and reliability, which is critical when your iPhone is not around. The LCP FPCB is also resistant to heat and moisture, which should make the next-gen Watch more suitable for daily use. Currently, the tech giant uses PI-based LTE antennas in Apple Watch.

KGI Securities added that the development and production of LCP FPCB is extremely challenging. The research firm believes that Android vendors will not be able to integrate similar technologies into their phones before 2019, which gives Apple a one-year headstart over its rivals. The new circuit board doesn’t tell us a lot about the Apple Watch Series 4, but it does give us an idea of what we can expect.

Last month, Kuo said in a research note that Apple was working closely with Intel on new pre-5G baseband chips for 2018 iPhones. The new chips will allow for a significant speed boost with the 4×4 MIMO technology compared to the 2×2 MIMO used in the current iPhones. The analyst expects Apple to integrate at least two LCP LTE antenna modules in the upcoming iPhones to take advantage of the 4×4 MIMO technology.

Will Apple Watch Series 4 offer a better battery life?

Not much is known about the Apple Watch Series 4. But we hope Apple will finally be able to explain with the next model why its wearable lineup exists and what its genuine purpose is. The Series 3 offers LTE support, which makes it a more capable and independent device, but LTE comes with a lot of limitations. It brings down the Watch’s battery life, which wasn’t great anyway.

We expect the Apple Watch Series 4 to deliver a better battery life to make LTE an attractive feature in the real sense. The Series 3 lasts less than 24 hours on a single charge. But the battery life plunges to only about one hour if you are using LTE. It offers just four hours of battery when using GPS and streaming music. That’s not how a reliable wristwatch is supposed to work.

Apple hasn’t changed the Watch’s design in years. The Series 3 looks similar to the Series 2, which looks similar to the original Apple Watch. Of course, the existing models are aesthetically pleasing, but they offer nothing new compared to the original one in terms of design. Users would expect to see a new design with the Apple Watch Series 4, which should debut in the second half of 2018.

Apple offers gift cards through the Apple Watch recycling program

Apple has updated the Renew and Recycling program for the Watch to offer gift card compensation for older devices. Previously, the tech giant wasn’t offering gift cards to customers who turned in their Apple Watch through the recycling program. The company has joined hands with Brightstar for gift cards. You can use the gift cards received from recycling devices towards purchases from the Apple Store.

Apple requires your Watch to be in working condition to be eligible for gift cards that range from $50 to $175. The company is currently recycling only the first-gen Apple Watch, the Series 2, and the Series 2 Nike+ models. You’ll receive a $50 gift card in exchange for the first-generation Watch. The aluminum Series 2 gets you a $125 gift card while the stainless steel version will fetch you $175.

If your older Watch is not in working condition, you will be offered free recycling without any gift card compensation.