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The next generation Apple Watch might break free from the iPhone and connect directly to cellular networks, according to reports.
The network access would come via new LTE modems in the devices, which sources claim will be supplied by Intel. The unnamed Apple Watch, which might be called the Series 3, is expected to launch later this year with the next generation of Apple products, although it could be delayed.
The new connectivity could allow wearers to use their device for internet-dependent tasks like downloading music and apps without having a connected iPhone nearby, finally giving us the untethered wearable experience we’ve been hoping for since the original was released in 2015.
The report claims that Apple is currently in discussions with wireless carriers in the U.S. and Europe to offer the new LTE-connected watches, most notably those that already carry the iPhone. AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile reportedly have plans to sell the gadget.
There was no mention of any wrist-based phone call functionality, à la Dick Tracy, so that type of phone-watch separation might still be left in the realm of comic books — but better cellular connectivity is at least a step in that direction.
The addition of LTE chips would undoubtedly make the Apple Watch, the best selling wearable on the market, even more attractive to consumers — but it might not be the only new feature coming later this year.
Apple, however, refused to comment.