Apple hits roadblocks in fully cutting Apple Watch ties to iPhone

“Apple Inc. has hit roadblocks in making major changes that would connect its Watch to cellular networks and make it less dependent on the iPhone, according to people with knowledge of the matter,” Mark Gurman, Alex Webb, and Scott Moritz report for Bloomberg. “The company still plans to announce new watch models this fall boasting improvements to health tracking.”

“The updated versions will also be able to integrate GPS-based location tracking, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public,” Gurman, Webb, and Moritz report. “During the discussions [with mobile phone carriers in the U.S. and Europe], Apple executives expressed concern that the cellular models may not be ready for release this year and that the feature may be pushed back to a later generation, according to the people.”

Apple Watch will within weeks feature watchOS 3 is faster and simpler with breakthrough health features
Apple Watch will within weeks feature watchOS 3 is faster and simpler with breakthrough health features

“The source of the delay is that current cellular chips consume too much battery life, reducing the product’s effectiveness and limiting user appeal, according to three of the people. Apple has begun studying lower-power cellular data chips for future smartwatch generations,” Gurman, Webb, and Moritz report. “While the plan for this year had been to at least partially untether the watch from the iPhone, Apple’s ultimate goal is to eliminate any need to connect the two devices, according to a person familiar with the company’s strategy. That ambition is currently stymied by technological limitations.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Built-in GPS will be a major selling point, especially for runners, cyclists, swimmers (alongside the rumored improved water resistance), etc. As we wrote earlier this week, “Built-in GPS with the option of adding LTE capability via and Apple Smartband for Apple Watch would be The Holy Grail of Smartwatches.”

Apple Watch 2 will entice the masses with built-in GPS – August 15, 2016
Faster Apple Watch 2 with onboard GPS, barometer, better battery and more water-resistance coming this year – August 8, 2016
Apple Watch 2 rumored to feature built-in GPS, swim tracking – June 27, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. Ever since the talk of a new model Watch popped up a week ago, the idea of a cellular radio was dismissed by everyone with a lick sense. Cell radios still draw too much power to practical in a Watch size device.

  2. Most of Wall Street has already declared AppleWatch a failed product so I doubt there’s anything Apple can do to change that opinion. I don’t think Apple is wrong in pursuing sales of AppleWatch but I have my doubts about most consumers wanting or needing such a device. I’ve never seen any positive articles about the future any type of smartwatch. Fitness bands seem useful but that’s as far as it goes.

    AppleWatch being tied to iPhones seems a huge hindrance to high sales. I’m not questioning Apple’s motives and as long as AppleWatch is meeting Apple’s sales expectations I guess that’s good enough. AppleWatch only falls short of expectations for everyone else outside of Apple.

    1. How much of WallNut Street actually comprehends technology? Most of their tech analcysts prove themselves to be clueless blowhards, if not outright stock manipulators. Then there’s the new, China-can’t-keep-a-trade-secret, rumor mill with competing stories, leaks, ‘mock-ups’, blahblahblah. Most of it has been a waste of reading time.

      In this case, the fact that tossing a cell phone radio into a watch would devour battery life is obvious. The technology for both the radios AND batteries isn’t here yet to provide that functionality. Kind of DUH.

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