“Apple Inc. is planning to release a version of its smartwatch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, a move designed to reduce the device’s reliance on the iPhone, people familiar with the matter said,” Mark Gurman, Scott Moritz, and Ian King report for Bloomberg.

“Currently, Apple requires its smartwatch to be connected wirelessly to an iPhone to stream music, download directions in maps, and send messages while on the go,” Gurman, Moritz, and King report. “Equipped with LTE chips, at least some new Apple Watch models, planned for release by the end of the year, will be able to conduct many tasks without an iPhone in range, the people said. For example, a user would be able to download new songs and use apps and leave their smartphone at home.”

“While the Apple Watch remains a small part of Apple’s overall revenue, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said earlier this week it’s the best-selling smartwatch “by a very wide margin.” Sales of the device grew more than 50 percent in the third quarter, Cook added,” Gurman, Moritz, and King report. “Making the Apple Watch more of a standalone device may boost sales of the product. ‘It would be a game changer,’ said Gene Munster, co-founder of Loup Ventures and a long-time Apple analyst. ‘If they could deliver an experience that isn’t tethered to an iPhone, it could kick start a new direction for the business.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bring it on – with Apple Smartbands™, too, pretty please!

Cellular connectivity – either built into the Watch case itself or via a Smartband – would supercharge Apple Watch sales!MacDailyNews, July 21, 2017

SEE ALSO:
Apple Watch Series 3 reportedly set to arrive this fall – July 26, 2017
Apple Watch Series 3 could sport MicroLED display, cellular connectivity, Apple Smartbands – July 21, 2017
Apple Watch 3 rumor, er… watch – July 5, 2017
Apple Watch sales could soar with new U.S. FDA plan – June 19, 2017
Apple appears to be working on blood glucose monitoring as a way to address Type 2 Diabetes – May 22, 2017
Apple reportedly working on incorporating blood glucose sensor into Apple Watch – May 15, 2017
Apple secret team reportedly working holy grail for treating diabetes; initially envisioned by Steve Jobs – April 12, 2017
Apple patent details Apple Watch smart bands – January 24, 2017
Emails between Apple and FDA hint at future plans – December 1, 2016
Analyst: Apple smartbands are a part of the Apple Watch’s future – April 8, 2016
Apple patent application hints at Apple Watch ‘Smartbands’ utilizing hidden 6-pin data connector – February 20, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]