The Apple Watch is the best-selling smartwatch ever released, and it’s certainly a great product, but there’s always room for improvement. While the Apple Watch Series 2 did alter the Series 1 for the better in a few key areas, it’s the rumored Apple Watch Series 3 that may offer what we really want to see.
But what exactly will the release of the Apple Watch Series 3 bring? The device is shaping up to be quite an interesting one. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
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A SIM card and LTE
The Apple Watch Series 3 may be the first in Apple’s portfolio to support LTE connectivity, although rumors about such a feature have spread since the very first version, indicating it’s something Apple often experiments with ahead of launch.
At the end of March 2017, an analyst from Susquehanna Financial Group published findings from a data-gathering trip to Asia, and claimed, “several parties” said the new Apple Watch would have a SIM card slot and support LTE connectivity. The analyst met with Qualcomm and Broadcom, among others, during his trip. Additionally, Apple may be investigating a low-power LTE chip for use in the Apple Watch 3 to ensure battery life doesn’t suffer.
This fits in with a previous Bloomberg report, which stated company engineers weren’t able to finalize a cellular design for the Apple Watch without compromising battery, and was reportedly invested in “low-power cellular data chips.”
The addition of LTE would make phone calls possible directly from the Apple Watch, and the Susquehanna analyst says Apple will push its wireless AirPods as the ideal companion product for the job.
The Apple Watch Series 3 won’t use the same touch panels as its predecessors. According to DigiTimes, Apple will source glass-film capacitive glass from Biel Crystal or General Interface Solutions.
The reason: Apple is reportedly unhappy with the yields of its current glass manufacturer, TPK. The firm has been unable to produce the Apple Watch’s particular brand of glass at scale, reportedly because of the smartwatch’s curved surface.
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A report from DigiTimes, meanwhile, mentions two key improvements to the Apple Watch Series 3 — performance and battery life. The Apple Watch has never been a high performer and it has always suffered from battery life issues, so improvements in those areas will certainly be welcome changes. Still, the Apple Watch Series 2 battery can generally last for around 2 or more days — so if Apple is seriously focusing on battery life for the Series 3, it’s possible that it’s also introducing new features that could put a bigger drain on the battery.
More: Apple’s waterproof Watch Series 2 also gets faster, brighter, and has GPS
Many are hoping that the Apple Watch Series 3 will bring with it a major redesign, however if recent reports are anything to go by, unfortunately this may not be the year we see that happen. According to a report from DigiTimes, which sources Chinese publication Economic Daily News, the overall design of the third Apple Watch will remain the same, despite the fact that it will include a few new key features.
What that means is that those hoping for a round Apple Watch may have to wait a little longer, if one is ever released at all. While round smartwatches have become quite a trend in the Android Wear market, the Apple Watch has stuck with a four-cornered form factor.
So when will we get the new Apple Watch? The report from DigiTimes suggests it will land at some point in the third quarter of this year, meaning that Apple could be shifting to a yearly upgrade cycle for the Apple Watch.
We’ll keep this post updated as we learn more about the Apple Watch Series 3.
Article originally published in January 2017. Updated on 03-28-2017 by Andy Boxall: Added in analyst reports on the Apple Watch 3 featuring LTE connectivity.