At $399, the new Watch is only slightly more expensive than the previous model, the $329 Series 2, which introduced standalone Global Positioning System capability.
That’s not all that appealing to most people, who still carry their phone with them just about everywhere they go, especially if the cellular connection comes with the trade off of lower battery life. More basic fitness trackers from the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone sold better.
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Apple just introduced a new Watch – the Series 3 – and its crowning feature is built-in 4G connectivity, so you can use it away from your phone. Heart rate monitor has been improved and Apple told it is the most used heart rate monitor. With GPS and tracking of more kinds of exercise routines, sales jumped, with Tim Cook bragging about a 50% increase during his company’s quarterly earnings call last month. The price for the Series 1 Apple Watch has been reduced to $249, but it’s now two generations old.
Other watchOS 4 features include a Siri watch face that shows the “information users need most throughout the day”, a new Workout app with clearer display and, with GymKit, you’ll soon be able to sync your Apple Watch 3 to certain pieces of compatible gym equipment so the data is automatically added. We don’t mean that it is the top selling smartwatch in the world, which it is.
Along that vein, Apple is embracing the potential of possible medical use cases, much like Fitbit is doing with its Ionic smartwatch.
Ian Fogg, analyst at IHS Market, said the new cellular Apple Watch is an opportunity for wireless firms. You will be able to more accurately track your heart rate and can choose to receive a notification when it becomes elevated above a specific threshold while inactive. Apple still compares itself to watch companies even though it is not positioning its watch for fitness, like wearable makers do.
To be sure, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has sold smart watches with mobile data connectivity since 2014, but the first devices were bulky and suffered from poor battery life because the data connection consumed extra power.
Coming to the connectivity, apart from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Global Positioning System, the new Apple Watch features LTE connectivity as well.
The watch with cellular connectivity will be available in nine countries September 22 starting at US$399 (S$537.49), Apple said.