Apple Watch 3 reportedly won't need your iPhone to make calls

Apple Watch could soon go where it hasn't gone before, adding LTE support and therefore ditching the need to have your iPhone nearby for tasks that require a network connection. 

Sources speaking with Bloomberg say Apple has a version of its smartwatch in the works that can tap into cellular networks, sans mobile handset. 

The new model, likely the Apple Watch 3, may release in the latter part of 2017, though its launch could always be pushed past this year.

One possibility is for the new Apple Watch to debut alongside the iPhone 8, the 10th anniversary flagship Apple hinted it will debut in September. 

With built-in cellular support, the new Apple Watch could make calls, send messages, stream songs, request an Uber, and download info from maps, to name a few functions that currently require your iPhone be close by.

According to Bloomberg, Intel will source the device's LTE modems. The chip giant's stock is seemingly on the rise as a legal dispute between Apple and Qualcomm rages on. 

Discussions regarding selling and supporting the LTE-equipped Apple Watch are said to be underway with US and European service providers, and the big four in the US (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile) reportedly plan to carry Apple's updated wearable.

One major concern with the new smartwatch is battery life, though Apple is actively looking at ways to keep power from depleting too quickly because of added LTE functionality.

Whenever the Apple Watch 3 makes its debut, it will likely run WatchOS 4; Apple has already said the new wearable operating system will arrive this fall. 

WatchOS 4 will feature more robust workout functions, tighter Siri integration, peer-to-peer payment support, and updates to the Apple Music app. 

What's more, a post by Daring Fireball's John Gruber that went up shortly after Bloomberg's report says the reliable Apple blogger has heard an "all-new form factor" is in store of this year's new Apple Watch. What form factor entails Gruber doesn't say, but we could be in for a significant redesign.

We expect the Apple Watch 3 / LTE Apple Watch to be ready to go for the Christmas shopping season, though if the tech giant can't get all the features right, such as decent battery life, then it's likely we won't see the new watch until next year, at the earliest.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.