Apple acknowledges cellular connectivity problem in new Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular)

“Apple Inc. acknowledged problems with cellular connectivity in its newest smartwatch, raising questions about the device’s most significant feature days before it goes on sale in stores in the U.S. and other countries,” Tripp Mickle reports for The Wall Street Journal. “In a statement Wednesday, Apple said the problem connecting to cellular networks occurs when the Apple Watch Series 3—the first watch from Apple to feature an LTE chip for cellular service—joins ‘unauthenticated Wi-Fi wireless networks without connectivity.’ Apple said it is ‘investigating a fix for a future software release.'”

“Apple issued the statement after reviewers from The Wall Street Journal and the Verge encountered problems at times making calls, connecting with the Siri virtual assistant and maintaining a cellular-network connection. The Journal ran into issues across multiple wireless carriers,” Mickle reports. “Reviews from the New York Times, USA Today and other outlets didn’t report significant issues with calls and connectivity.”

MacDailyNews Take: Because they didn’t write their reviews while in a Starbucks with the coffee shop’s captive network demanding a login that the Watch could not perform.

“Apple’s stock was down 1.8% in afternoon trading in New York,” Mickle reports. “Apple hasn’t disclosed smartwatch sales to date. Market researcher IDC estimates it sold an estimated 30 million Apple Watches since introducing the device in 2015, making it the world’s largest smartwatch company by sales. But the device has failed to generate the type of sales growth Apple saw in the early days of other products such as the iPhone and iPad.”

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, it’s impossible to say for sure without Apple’s sales numbers, but any reasonable estimate shows that the Apple Watch outsold iPhone in its first 10 quarters (which is the current age of Apple Watch; 2.5 years).

And, beyond just smartwatches, Apple is the world’s largest watch company.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iMore‘s Serenity Caldwell explains the issue concisely:

Essentially, the Series 3 GPS + Cellular watch tries to save battery life at all times by using your iPhone’s connection, or failing that, a Wi-Fi network. What’s happening here is that the watch is attempting to jump on a so-called ‘captive’ network — a public network with an interstitial login prompt or terms and conditions agreement. (You’ve probably seen these at a Starbucks, McDonalds, or Panera.) In theory, the Apple Watch shouldn’t be allowed to connect to captive networks at all, because there’s no way for it to get through that interstitial layer. Unfortunately, watchOS 4 has a bug where captive networks are being recognized identically to normal saved Wi-Fi networks — so while you’re technically ‘connected’ to a network, you won’t be able to connect to the internet; nor will you be able to go to cellular, because the Watch’s auto-switching prevents you from connecting.

Again, Apple has no good no excuse for this. It’s a lack of attention to detail.

As we wrote earlier today:

This is a stupid, self-inflicted wound.

This simple bug (trying to connect to captive networks and having no means to do so) should have been caught and fixed months ago, not shipped out to major reviewers.

Now, you’ve got mainstream reporters – [we are not criticizing the reviewers, we’re talking about non-tech reporters misreporting what has happened and blowing it all out of proportion] – who can’t identify their asses from their elbows much less Wi-Fi from LTE rushing to file “reports” on “Apple Watch connectivity flaws.”

Apple Watch Series 3 deserved better. Instead, Tim Cook’s Apple “Mapsified” it.

When you pride yourself on your attention to detail and like to crow about it incessantly, it helps, you know, to actually pay attention to the details.

Apple stock falls after company admits issues with Apple Watch connectivity – September 20, 2017
Some reviewers’ Apple Watch Series 3 ‘LTE issues’ due to easily-fixable Wi-Fi bug – September 20, 2017
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015


    1. They lost attention to detail? Have you seen the caseback of an Apple Watch? Do you know how hard it is to create and mass produce the curved sapphire crystal covering the face of upper end models? Do you know how painstaking it must have been to design the strap replacement system, including the easily removable links on the metal bracelets (something that often requires the work of jewelers with other watches)?

      And I’ve barely scratched the surface.

        1. I bought the original 1984 Mac as a teenager so I’m old enough to know that Apple has always made mistakes. No company is perfect. People have been saying Apple has lost their attention to detail or is neglecting this or that product since the beginning. Maybe you’re just not old enough to know that and you think this is something new under Cook. It isn’t. Apple made plenty of mistakes under Jobs.

            1. Why TF would ANYONE believe a word you have to say?
              Apple, under Tim Cook’s leadership, is the richest company the world has ever seen. That is a fact.

            2. So does richest company equate to the most refined products in your mind?

              We can only assume you test drove cars from every company on the planet before putting that Bugatti in your garage.

            3. Sorry, I just don’t see Apple making any more or any less mistakes these days, it seems very much the same as it always has been, which I find impressive given the scale Apple operates at now. Who here remembers having to comb through your extensions to find a conflict? That level of nonsense would have you screaming today.

          1. They sure did!

            Jobs was no way perfect. Because he’s dead they think he was.

            Jobs was a total dictator and megnomanic. His obsession with perfection was worse than why Tim Cook is doing.

            Jobs botched several products and loss of software.

            He may have been a bit of a visionary but he wasn’t a saint and he certainly wasn’t perfect in any way.

            Now all you moaners get over it, jobs is dead. Deal with it and move on.

            Tim Cook has the hardest job in the world – do you honestly think it’s easy runnin the most successful tech company in the world???

          2. The Mac Cube’s case cracking and discoloration of some older case materials come to mind. Which is neither to denigrate the Thomas Edison of the PC age – who shared some of both that man’s strengths and shortcoming – but we’re all mixed bags…

            …nor to defend Cook, however, looking at the last year – finally paying some attention to the Mac, establishing the Watch as more than a curiosity and evolving it nicely, doing what had to be done in phones and iOS (and along with the new OS, iPads optimized to take advantage), all while keeping Apple the company in great fiscal shape – hey, after a shakier previous two years, gotta say he’s kinda’ delivering….

  1. Apple acknowledges the problem, MDN says it never should have been let out the door with this problem…

    …and then insults the reviewers who pointed out the problem that Apple acknowledged.

    1. Apple had no choice. They got caught, as happens too often these days.

      MDN is absolutely correct this is just another botched release by the adverse attention to detail of clueless Cook’s team …

    2. Obviously, you don’t have an LTE watch yet, and this may be fixed before you do.

      In the meantime, stop hanging out in McDonalds and other places that have WiFi that requires using a browser to click through a sign-in screen, or change the settings on your iPhone that allow automatically logging into such networks. Your phone—and your watch when it is out of range from your phone—will then use its LTE modem rather than getting hung up on the unusable WiFi. Problem solved.

      It isn’t insulting the reviewers to point out that they are grossly misrepresenting the problem by calling it a “connectivity problem” with the LTE modem on Apple Watch 3. I have the same issue on my iPhone when I am in my local supermarket; I can’t use any apps and don’t get email or messages until I either go to Safari and log in to their WiFi, or shut off WiFi entirely.

      1. You are assuming Apple will allow you to turn off wireless connections. The latest news indicates that the geniuses at Apple want to constantly keep an electronic leash on you. The control panel only gives the user the illusion of control. Big Brotheresque to say the least. Yes, I understand the tech and what Apple is doing today with this and a hundred other little things is disrespecting to users. Apple doesn’t care about giving users full control, Apple is selling fashion and convenience while extracting more money from users’ pockets than ever before. The value advantage that Apple used to offer has been evaporating ever since Cook took the reins. All you have to do is objectively review the competition for many products to see the reality. Airport, displays, software, Mac mini, Mac Pro, MacBook, MB Air, MBP, ATV, Maps, Siri, …. are all well behind the competition in capabilities and value. And to top it off, Cook can’t seem to find the cash to maintain iPods or fix iTunes.

  2. Hmmm, So I guess MDN never makes a mistake, right???

    Did you know that if you stick an iPhone 8 up your butt right when you are looking to take a sh*t, you have an increased chance to drop your iPhone 8 into the toilet….. How terrible that Apple did not catch this… /s

  3. The new watch is not yet being sold at retail. The issue can be fixed with a simple software update. The media and MDN are making way too much of this.

    1. MDN is not making a big deal out of it. They call it a simple bug. They are saying that the rabid media will blow it out of proportion and misreport the issue and that Apple should have caught this long ago in the beta period.

    2. MDN is not making a big deal out of it. They call it a simple bug. They are saying that the rabid media will blow it out of proportion and misreport the issue and that Apple should have caught this long ago in the beta period.

  4. This site is just pro Apple site where people of like minds can blow off some steam. There’s nothing wrong with that. So the narrative on this site goes something like this: Apple can do no wrong. When they do you cry like babies and blame everything on Tim Cook. When they do well you kiss their asses and praise the company as if they are gods.

  5. The only place i find free wifi hassle free is at Apple Stores. I have been to Apple stores in UK, France and Germany and all of them are the easiest to use. I wish all companies allowing free wifi used the apple store model without the registration. Saying that Apple botched this up, at least they acknowledge the problem so a fix is coming soon

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