Apple’s third-generation smartwatch is gearing up to be far more exciting than its predecessors. The new Apple Watch Series 3 is likely to be announced alongside the iPhone 8 next month. The original Watch focused on fashion and design, the second generation shifted focus to fitness and usefulness, and the upcoming one will also offer Internet connectivity, reveals a new Apple Watch 3 leak.
No major changes in Apple Watch 3 form factor
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the most reliable Apple analyst on the planet, has spilled the beans on the next-gen Apple Watch. The analyst said that new Apple Watch would not feature any obvious changes to its form factor. It means the Apple Watch Series 3 will look similar to the older models. Ming-Chi Kuo said LTE connectivity would be the biggest selling point of the upcoming wearable device.
The analyst added that Apple would offer both LTE and non-LTE models of Series 3. The smartwatch will continue to ship in two sizes: 38mm and 42mm. Apple also offers the iPads in LTE and non-LTE versions. The data plans for Apple Watch 3 are expected to be similar to those for iPads. The Series 3 Apple Watch will not support 3G connectivity. It means there will be limitations on which markets would get the LTE Apple Watch.
Kuo did not elaborate on where the LTE Apple Watch will be sold. We can expect it to be available in the countries with widespread LTE connectivity such as the United States, China, and most European markets. The KGI Securities analyst did not reveal much about the capabilities of non-LTE Apple Watch models. We can expect them to offer better speed and more health features.
LTE connectivity the biggest selling point next-gen Apple Watch
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that the new Apple Watch would include an LTE chip to enable Internet connectivity without having to be paired with an iPhone. The report claimed that all the four major US carriers – Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint – have agreed to support the LTE Apple Watch model. The LTE version will appeal to fitness enthusiasts who don’t want to carry their iPhones when they go out for jogging.
According to Bloomberg, Apple will source the LTE modems from Intel, the company that has been trying hard to get its components inside Apple products. Apple and Qualcomm are locked in a legal dispute. Apple has already started using Intel modems in some of its iPhones.
Separately, CNBC has learned from industry sources that the Apple Watch 3 is indeed coming in September with LTE support. The cellular connectivity will be via an embedded SIM instead of a physical SIM, claims CNBC. The Cupertino company has already announced the watchOS 4 that will run the Series 3 Watch. The LTE support will allow you to stream music, download apps, and check updates without connecting it to your iPhone.
However, the LTE connectivity would sap the Watch’s battery fast, which could be a headache for both Apple and users. If Apple could pack a bigger battery or increase the battery efficiency through software optimization, it would encourage consumers to get the latest LTE model. Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah told CNBC that the LTE version would drive the average selling price (ASP) of the smartwatch because of its higher price tag.
KGI Securities predicts that Apple will ship an estimated 17.5 million to 18 million Watch units this year. About 8-9 million of them will be the new Apple Watch 3. Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that only 35-40% of the new Apple Watch units sold will be the LTE model because it will be more expensive than the non-LTE variant. The analyst added that Apple would have to introduce a new form factor and support more health applications in order to drive major growth in the future.
Will Apple Watch 3 sport a selfie camera?
Even though the Apple Watch sales have not been as strong as many expected, Apple CEO Tim Cook remains bullish. He believes healthcare represents an enormous opportunity for smart watches, and Apple Watch will potentially be able to monitor your health constantly. Tim Cook himself was recently spotted trying out a glucose-tracker on the Apple Watch. Apple sold 2.8 million Watch units worldwide during the second quarter this year, up 56% YoY. That’s an impressive growth.