“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