The next Apple Watch could let you leave your iPhone at home

The next generation of Apple Watch could be a whole lot more useful if a recent analyst report is anything to go by. 

Christopher Rolland, an analyst from Susquehanna Financial Group, has said that based on a recent supply chain analysis in Asia he believes the third-generation Apple Watch may feature cellular connectivity.

Rolland suggests this new iteration of the Apple Watch will launch later this year and come with SIM card support, and “is therefore likely” to support LTE. The new LTE device will reportedly be promoted as being interoperable with the AirPods, offering a highly convenient way of making and receiving phone calls. 

AirPod compatible

It’s long been rumored that Apple has been working on bringing cellular connectivity to the Apple Watch – in early 2016 it was believed to be a planned feature for the second-generation watch but instead we got GPS support. 

The company apparently faced problems with excessive battery drain which stopped it introducing the feature earlier. However, Rolland reports that though “some issues remain, including battery life and form factor size [...] significant progress has been made. Apple may be employing VOIP and data across a CAT-M1 connection for superior battery life.”

Cellular connectivity is the natural next step for the Apple Watch; it would make it a significantly more useful device as it would untether it from the iPhone and offer true convenience and portability for things like phone calls and using Apple’s music service. It would, however, bring added cost to an already expensive device in the form of an additional data plan.

As with any reports that haven’t been verified by Apple, this should be taken with a pinch of salt. Rolland doesn’t have any kind of established track record in successfully predicting Apple’s product plans and previous Apple Watch 3 rumors have pointed to much more modest hardware improvements.

That said, cellular connectivity isn’t an unreasonable expectation and it’s a feature that's long been rumored. 

It’s expected that the iPhone 8 will be announced later this year and it’s a possibility that we could see a new Apple Watch revealed alongside it, though Apple also has the opportunity to make product revelations much sooner at WWDC, which begins June 5.