Apple announced its Apple Watch Series 3 today, the first to include LTE-compatibility. This means that you can now stream music and make phone calls without your phone in tow. Jeff Williams, Apple COO, calls it “the ultimate expression of Apple Watch.” Aside from the LTE watch, Apple CEO Tim Cook also declared the Apple Watch the “number one watch in the world” (likely in terms of revenue), beating out Rolex, Fossil, and Omega, and that the device experienced a 50 percent year-over-year growth.
The Series 3 includes a new dual-core processor that Apple says is 70 percent faster, thereby allowing Siri to actually talk. The new W2 chip inside delivers 85 percent faster Wi-Fi while also being 50 percent more power efficient, which will prove important because of cellular connectivity depleting battery more rapidly. (Apple says the watch should have up to 18 hours of battery life.)
Basically, it means you can make and receive calls, as well as messages, while away from your iPhone using just the Apple Watch. The Watch will use a separate connection when away from the phone, but it will still use the same phone number so that messages and texts all get to you regardless of whether you have your phone or watch with you or not.
New cellular connectivity not only means you can take your Watch with you and use it on a run to track your stats, but it will also give access to all of Apple Music without a connected device, starting next month.
The new Apple Watch is visually quite similar to the existing version, with backwards compatibility with existing straps and bands. There’s a new Blush Gold color to match the new iPhone color option, and a new ceramic Dark Gray for the higher-end models that joins the existing white. Plus, the cellular version sports that red crown for an extra bit of visual flare. The non-cellular version doesn’t have the new red crown.
Inside, it has a new dual-core processor with 70 percent better performance, as well as a new W2 chip that improves Bluetooth and wireless connectivity and power efficiency. The cellular antenna is actually the display itself, and there’s an electronic SIM card inside for connectivity.
Tim Cook touted an ‘industry-leading’ customer satisfaction rate of 97 percent for the Apple Watch on stage at today’s event, and noted that it was the number one watch brand in the world now, based on worldwide sales, provided it’s using the same metric as last year.
Apple is also improving the heart rate app for Watch software with new features including a heart rate complication for the main watch face, new measurements including resting heart rate, and a recovering heart rate that shows how fast your rate drops after you complete a workout.
They’re also now notifying you when it detects that you have an elevated heart rate, but you aren’t actually being active. And they’ll alert you when you have an arrhythmia, or an irregular heart rate compared to your usual stats. That could help it spot health problems earlier, including strokes, before they become more serious.
To that end, it’s doing an ‘Apple Heart Study’ with Stanford, coming to the App sStore later this year.
There’s also a new band called the “Sport Loop” that’s designed for use in outdoor active situations. There are also new Hermes bands and new watchface styles, and new color options across the band lineup.