Home Home Tech Apple Watch Series 3 - Cellular at last, streaming music, watchOS 4 and plenty more

Apple Watch Series 3 - Cellular at last, streaming music, watchOS 4 and plenty more

The Apple Watch is now officially the No.1 watch in the world, utterly shaming those who ridiculed it, with Series 3 delivering an LTE Cellular model, health enhancements and much more.

The newest expression of Apple’s smart watch arrives on 22 September, with pre-orders starting from 15 September, and finally adding built-in cellular.

Apple says that “whether users are out for a run, at the pool or just trying to be more active throughout their day, Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular allows them to stay connected, make calls, receive texts and more, even without iPhone nearby".

It’s what people wanted from the very first Apple Watch, and it is finally here, while also remaining an ever improving “health and fitness companion”, now with even better intelligent coaching features, water resistance to 50 metres and a “new barometric altimeter that measures relative elevation".

Apple Watch Series 3 comes in two models, one with GPS and cellular, and one with GPS, with both featuring a 70% faster dual-core processor and new wireless chip.

The new Series 3 without cellular, but with GPS, replaces the previous Series 2, but Apple is keeping Series 1 alive, which has the same processor as the previous Series 2. While Series 1 is as splash proof as the original Apple Watch, it lacks the much stronger water resistance of Series 2 and 3 that allows you to take it swimming, for example. Pricing is at the end of this article.

So, with cellular connectivity the biggest feature of the Apple Watch Series 3, its perfect pairing comes with watchOS 4, an OS update that will also be made available to existing Apple Watch owners.

If you have an Apple Music subscription, an Apple Watch Series 3 and watchOS 4, you’ll also be able to “stream 40 million songs straight from the wrist” without needing your iPhone nearby, or needing to be in range of a known Wi-Fi network.

So, what is the advanced technology in Apple Watch Series 3?

Apple explains that its Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS + Cellular “features a full 4G LTE and UMTS (3G) cellular radio that switches seamlessly to cellular when it is away from iPhone".

Importantly, and wonderfully, the watch “shares the same number as iPhone so there’s no need to provide an additional number to family, friends or colleagues; and to help get customers started, participating carriers are also offering special introductory mobile plans at launch".

We’re told “that customers have the ability to make mobile calls directly with Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) and, when paired with AirPods, enjoy a seamless and fully wireless experience".

Apple has also pioneered an “industry-first antenna design that uses the display itself as both a transmitting and receiving element for 4G LTE and UMTS, while introducing a built-in eSIM that is over one-hundredth the size of a traditional SIM card, making over-the-air activation possible without compromising space".

The cellular feature is enabled by a tiny eSIM, much smaller than a Nano SIM. Telstra has released more information about eSIMs here, and I've written more about eSIMs coming to Telstra, Optus and Vodafone-powered Apple Watch Series 3 models here

As mentioned above, Series 3 also has the S3 chipset, Apple’s “third-generation architecture featuring a faster dual-core processor, which allows for quicker app launch times and smoother graphics, and, for the first time, enables Siri to speak using the built-in speaker".

Yes, Siri can finally speak back to you from your wrist. Whether this truly required a new processor, I don’t know, but it will be available now and will be able to speak out loud from the watch, or via AirPods directly and privately into your ears.

Apple has also designed a “new custom wireless chip called W2”, which it says makes “Wi-Fi 85% faster and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 50% more power efficient, while still providing all-day battery life and keeping the size virtually the same as before".

Also new is the aforementioned “barometric altimeter that assists with tracking activity, flights climbed and outdoor workouts, including elevation gain".

Article continues below image, please read on!

watchOS 4

Apple previewed watchOS 4 during its WWDC 2017 keynote, including a new Siri-powered intelligent watch face that surfaces information you need to know, when you need to know it, as well as cool new faces featuring characters from the Toy Story movies, and more.

New features disclosed at Apple’s iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple TV 4K keynote include “an updated Heart Rate app, giving even more insight to heart rate, including measurements during resting, workout, recovery, walking and Breathe sessions".

Another very useful addition is the ability to “choose to receive a notification when their heart rate is elevated above a specific threshold while inactive".

The aforementioned watchOS 4 feature includes the proactive Siri watch face that displays the information users need most throughout the day, as well an “enhanced Workout app with new interface, custom High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout type and auto-sets for pool swims".

WWDC 2017 also showcased “GymKit,” which allows “users to soon enjoy the ability to connect to their favourite cardio equipment and experience two-way synchronisation of data with just a tap, resulting in the most accurate information possible".

Finally in this short list of feature highlights, the “redesigned Music app experience automatically syncs playlists like New Music Mix and Favourites Mix, along with the user’s most listened to music".

Later this Australian spring, Apple says “Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) will stream music, giving users access to any song from Apple Music, straight from the wrist".

A new Radio app “also enables listeners to access Beats 1 live or any Apple Music radio station while away from iPhone or Wi-Fi".

So, what about pricing?

Well, Apple is stating prices which “start from”, which appears to be for the 38mm models rather than the 42mm models that are slightly more expensive, but here we go.

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) starts at A$559, and Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) starts at A$459.

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) also debuts “a special red Digital Crown and exclusive “Explorer” watch face that shows cellular connectivity through a unique design".

Series 1 will also be available at a “new starting price of A$359”, which clearly makes Apple Watch ownership “more affordable than ever".

There’s a new gold aluminium colour in addition to silver or space grey aluminium, and of course there’s stainless steel and ceramic versions at higher prices.

There’s also a Nike+ version of Apple Watch, with an updated Nike+ Run app, and a new Hermès edition, too, with a stack of special Hermès accessories.

Jeff Williams, Apple chief operating officer, reiterated: “We believe the addition of cellular will transform the way people use Apple Watch, providing a new sense of freedom since they can stay connected with or without their iPhone. Apple Watch Series 3 combined with the power of watchOS 4 is the ultimate device for a healthy life.”

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.