Apple Inc has just unveiled its Series 3 Apple Watch, along with iPhone X and two other iPhones, and it is expected to dominate the wearable device market using its upgraded features.
The third generation Apple-made smartwatch now comes with its LTE connectivity, a feature which allows users to use the watch without having to be nearby an iPhone. That means owners can still make phone calls and send text messages from the watch even when they don’t have their iPhones with them. In the Series 2 models, only basic GPS functionalities were added. Analysts believe that the improved connectivity will skyrocket its sales, although there hasn’t been any projected figure as to how much the increase would be.
“Now you can go for a run with just your watch and be connected,” said Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams at the keynote event held on Tuesday.
The watch shares the same number with the iPhone, making it unnecessary to get a separate number for it during the setting up of the device. The antenna is built into the screen, which means the display is used as a transmitting and receiving element for LTE and UMTS.
There is also a built-in eSIM that is comparatively smaller than the size of a traditional SIM card. The size of the eSIM makes adjustments in the whole watch’s size unnecessary, keeping the watch just as slim as the Series 2.
Williams, during a demonstration onstage, called an Apple colleague, who was at that moment in the middle of a lake on a stand-up paddle board. The colleague was able to take the call and have a conversation just by using the watch and its built-in mic.
Although the LTE connectivity is considered the most crucial feature that differentiates the Apple Watch Series 3 from its predecessors, other smaller tweaks also impressed those who have witnessed its unveiling and the showing off of its other capabilities.
Apple Inc claims that the Apple Watch is powered by a faster dual-core processor called the S3. The processor enables quicker application launch times and better graphics. Moreover, it allows Siri to speak using the built-in speaker.
The device’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi features have also been buffed up, with Apple’s new custom wireless chip called W2. W2 makes Wi-Fi 85 percent faster, and 50 percent more power efficient, according to Apple. It is also water resistant, with 18 hours of battery life
Moreover, the watch features a barometric altimeter which is used to measure the altitude of the user above a fixed level. This hardware has been previously featured by rivals, such as FitBit, to detect how many flights of stairs a user climbs at a given time, as well as to keep tabs on different activities done by the wearer.
Health-related features have also been blessed with enhancements by the Cupertino-based company.
The Heart Rate app is claimed to be giving more useful insight with the help of watchOS 4, which is the company’s latest smartwatch software. It will include measurements during rest, workout, recovery, and walking sessions.
Other features include “proactive Siri watch face that displays the information users need most throughout the day, an enhanced Workout app with new interface, custom High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout type and auto-sets for pool swims,” according to a statement released through Apple’s website.
Furthermore, music streaming will also be enabled later this fall, giving users access to songs from Apple Music or any Apple Music radio station.
The watch comes in two variants. Buyers can score Apple Watch Series 3 with both GPS and Cellular functions starting at $399, while the other variant with only the GPS function can be bought starting at $329. Both of the variants feature new upgrades like the faster dual-core processor and wireless chip, as well as the barometric altimeter.
“Series 1 will be available at a new starting price of $249, making it more affordable than ever,” the published statement said.
Apple also said that all four major US carriers, including AT&T Inc and T-Mobile Inc, will provide services for the watch. The service will cost an extra $10 per month, at least for AT&T and T-Mobile.
Brian Blau, an Apple analyst, said that the price of the monthly recurring charge is something that will hold customers back.
“Yes, you do have to pay for that extra data plan, but it sounds like the carriers are at least going to make it relatively easy to do,” he said.
On the other hand, Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook claimed that the Apple Watch is now the top watch in the world, beating even the most traditional brands, even though he declined to disclose any specific sales figure. He also claimed that customer satisfaction is at 97 percent.
During the event, Apple Watch Series 3 shared the stage with the unveiling of iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and Apple TV 4K, at the spaceship-themed Apple Park.
Pre-orders for the watch will begin on September 15, while its official launch is on September 22.
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