An LTE-enabled Apple Watch always felt inevitable, but now that a new report has surfaced suggesting it could launch as early as this year, some questions have to be asked.
According to a new report from Bloomberg , the outlet’s Mark Gurman says that the wearable will feature an LTE modem from Intel that will reduce its reliance on the iPhone.
In current Apple Watch models, a connection with a smartphone is required for tasks such as streaming music and sending messages. An LTE chip would obviously allow the Watch to complete these tasks independently, meaning users could opt to leave their phone at home.
Apple is already in talks with carriers in the U.S. and Europe about offering the cellular version, the people added. The carriers supporting the LTE Apple Watch, at least at launch, will be a limited subset of those that carry the iPhone, one of the people said. However, AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc. in the U.S. plan to sell the device, according to other people familiar with the matter.
It’ll be interesting to see how carriers price their Apple Watch data plans, given the device’s tiny display and limited capabilities. You would think it’d be relatively inexpensive. The report also notes that it’s possible the LTE-flavored Watch could be delayed beyond this year.
Price is going to play a big role in this, too, probably. The Apple Watch Series 2 with a 42mm band is $399. It isn’t cheap. And as we’ve seen with other Apple products that have a cellular connection, that price will go up by some amount, which means the 42mm Apple Watch Series 3 could cost just over $500. For the model with a Sports band. I can’t help but think that’s a bit of a hard sell.
If anything, this is going to be another Apple product I’m looking forward to seeing how they sell it. I didn’t even get into the wireless carriers, who will charge to even have the privilege of putting the Apple Watch with LTE on your plan, plus also charge you for the data connection to make it worthwhile. I don’t see Apple convincing them to give that data access away for free, but this is Apple and stranger things have happened.