Apple kicked off the product announcements at today’s fall event with a quick recap of the health and fitness features coming in watchOS 4 and a new Apple Watch Series 3 version that incorporates a faster CPU and cellular capabilities that allow users to place and receive phone calls, communicate via text messages, and use other Internet-connected apps without having an iPhone in close proximity. As predicted by analysts, the new Apple Watch Series 3 incorporates an integrated eSIM card and shares the phone number with the user’s iPhone, meaning that although the new Apple Watch can be used without an iPhone in range, it is still not a completely standalone device.
The Apple Watch Series 3 also sports a new dual-core processor that promises performance improvements of up to 70 percent over the Apple Watch Series 2 as well as a Apple-designed W2 wireless communication chip that is 50 percent more power efficient and increases Wi-Fi speeds by up to 85 percent. A barometric sensor has also been added allowing the Apple Watch Series 3 to track elevation as well as GPS location, and Siri can now verbally respond to requests. Apple also added that with cellular capabilities and the Music app in watchOS 4, users will be able to stream music and radio stations from Apple Music directly over a cellular connection as well, essentially placing “40 million songs on your wrist.”
The Apple Watch Series 3 model with cellular capabilities will start at $399 and be available on select carriers in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States on Sept. 22, with pre-orders beginning Sept. 15. Apple is also selling an Apple Watch Series 3 model without cellular capabilities that will be launching in a total of 26 countries on the same date, starting at $329. Apple will also be continuing to sell the Apple Watch Series 1 starting at $249.