Apple Watch Series 3 Reportedly Features Integrated Cellular LTE Connectivity For iPhone Independence

The third generation Apple Watch will be even less reliant on having an iPhone device nearby. After adding GPS functionality to the second generation wearable, it's said the Apple Watch Series 3 will feature an integrated LTE modem so that it can connect directly to high speed cellular networks without going through the iPhone.

This would be a big feature upgrade for the Apple Watch. The first generation smartwatch from Apple lacked independent GPS functionality, which meant maintaining a connection to an iPhone in order to track distance when jogging, swimming, or riding a bike. Apple addressed that with the Apple Watch Series 2, thereby allowing users to leave their iPhone at home when going out for a run. Now Apple is looking at full independence for its wearable.

Apple Watch Series 2

Current generation Apple Watch devices connect to iPhone handsets via Bluetooth in order to send text messages, stream music, make phone calls, and so forth. With at least some third generation Apple Watch wearables having a built-in LTE chip—it appears Apple will offer both cellular and non-cellular models—many of those same functions can be performed independent of the iPhone.

Not only will this be good for Apple and its customers, it will also benefit Intel, which is said to have inked a deal to supply LTE modems to Apple. Intel already powers many of Apple's desktops and laptops, but when it comes to mobile gadgets, Qualcomm has been the primary supplier of modems. Apple's ongoing legal dispute with Qualcomm may have opened the door for Intel to barge in.

Apple is currently talking with wireless carriers in the US and Europe about supporting the new Apple Watch with LTE connectivity. All of the big carriers in the US will support the device, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. However, some of the smaller carriers that piggyback on their networks may not.