Will an LTE Apple Watch really be a game-changer?

“If they are to be successful, tech gadgets need to have a clear purpose, function, and set of capabilities that people can easily understand and appreciate. If not, well… there is a large and growing bin of technological castoffs,” Bob O’Donnell writes for Tech.pinions. “Part of the reason that the wearable market hasn’t lived up to its early expectations is directly related to this existential crisis. Even now, several years after their debut, it’s still hard for most people to figure out exactly what these devices are, and for which uses they’re best suited.”

“Of course, wearables are far from a true failure. The Apple Watch, for example, has fared reasonably well,” O’Donnell writes. “The problem is that we were led to believe that wearables — particularly smartwatches like the Apple Watch—were going to be general purpose computing and communication devices capable of all kinds of different applications. Clearly, that has not happened, though some seem to hold out hope that the possibility still exists.”

“Those hopes were particularly strong over the last few days with rumors about both a potential LTE modem-equipped version of the Apple Watch coming this fall and a potential deal between Apple and CIGNA to provide Apple Watches to their health insurance customers. Some have even argued that an LTE-equipped Apple Watch is a game-changer that can bring dramatic new life to the smartwatch and overall wearable industry,” O’Donnell writes. “Color me skeptical.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We haven’t heard anything about Cigna, but we have heard reports of Aetna broadening their client’s use of Apple Watch.

As for the cost of the cell plan for the LTE Apple Watch, we’re hopeful that Apple has worked up something innovative with the carriers.

As daily Apple Watch users since Day One, we’re less skeptical than O’Donnell. An LTE-capable Apple Watch will be a game-changer.

CNBC: Next-gen LTE Apple Watch to launch in September – August 15, 2017
Apple and Aetna hold secret meetings to bring Apple Watch to the insurer’s 23 million members – August 14, 2017
Ming-Chi Kuo: Next-gen LTE Apple Watch to retain current form factor – August 14, 2017
How Apple could put an LTE radio into Apple Watch without killing battery life – August 7, 2017
An LTE-equipped Apple Watch could be a good sign for Intel – August 7, 2017
Apple Watch LTE will be a game changer – August 7, 2017
Apple plans to release a cellular-capable Apple Watch later this year – August 4, 2017
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
In major win for Apple, Aetna becomes first insurance company to subsidize Apple Watch – September 27, 2016
New ‘SweatCoin’ iPhone app pays people to get fit – May 5, 2016
Why you’ll wear an Apple Watch to keep your job – March 14, 2016
Share your fitness data for an Apple Watch – or cash – March 2, 2016
Tim Cook hints Apple might build a health device – November 10, 2015
Apple should double down on Apple Watch’s health sensors, battery life, and waterproofing – October 2, 2015
Health insurer will charge more for lazy people, less for active people, based on Apple Watch sensors – September 18, 2015

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


  1. It’s a game changer for people who run/bike and want to leave their phones behind. In almost all other scenarios, people have their phones with them. I go to the gym 4 to 5 times a week, and am quite content with my first generation Apple Watch.

  2. I really don’t want my phone bill to increase another penny, if anything I want it lowered! Share the data, if one item is stationary at home switch the watch to LTE on and phone off. My biggest concern is battery life, if LTE is added and battery life stays the same this was pointless.

  3. Unfortunately, the author hit the nail… the Apple Watch’s promise has not been achieved… yet. And why add LTE to it? For runners? I have to think the number of folks that find running desirable and who can’t carry their iPhone and can afford to pay for a data plan for just these reasons is so small as to be a niche. Certainly not the size of the business user market, for example. I own a high-end 1.0 Apple Watch. I love it. But why I would want LTE in it I can’t imagine. But maybe I just haven’t yet heard the reason?

    1. Health-care reasons. Users won’t be required to own an iPhone to send data to their health care providers. Think of tens millions of people on health-care plans all using LTE-equipped AppleWatches. Hopefully, Aetna will kick things off for AppleWatch to be distributed to the masses. I honestly think that should be considered a good enough reason.

      As far as battery life is concerned, the rumor is the next AppleWatch will accommodate watch bands containing an auxiliary battery.

      1. Agreed: health-care is the market. Not LTE contact to health providers, however. The thing that will move the needle for sales is monitoring more health issues. Non-invasive, constant glucose monitoring will sell a million Apple Watches overnight. Whether that data is transmitted to providers with or without an iPhone is relatively irrelevant.

        1. I don’t want my insurance company getting real time data about my life, my activities, my vital signs etc. Maybe i’m a little paranoid but this notion just seems over the top to me.

          As to the apple watch i think it’s too damn small to be a general computing device and too damn ugly to be a cool watch, which i think will limit its ultimate appeal.

      2. Will there be huge numbers of people whose health care providers will want real time health care data? This data could be saved and sent periodically when connected to wifi. If there are people who urgently need to be monitored 24/7 I’m sure a phone could be organised.

  4. The LTE-equipped AppleWatch will only be a game changer if Aetna can move 23 million AppleWatches to their clients’ wrists. That will just about suck all the air out of those jackasses who are always claiming AppleWatch is a huge failure.

  5. An LTE connection isn’t going to suddenly allow you to do stuff you couldn’t before. Sure it will be nice for those who run and don’t want to take their phone with them, but you then lose out on all the functionality a phone gives which the watch just isn’t capable of (camera, decent sized screen, processing). I also really doubt that there are millions of people who haven’t bought an iPhone because they couldn’t afford it but would get an Apple Watch in lieu of a smartphone just because it has a data connection.

    It’s certainly not a bad thing and will make the watch better, but it’s certainly not going to open up some new world of functionality. Apps are still limited in practicality compared to Phone versions and that’s not going to change with a standalone data connection.

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