Ars Technica reviews Apple Watch Series 3: Despite some teething pains, it’s great to use

“The Apple Watch Series 3 ultimately comes in two types of models: with LTE and without LTE. Those who opt for the $399 LTE models expect the ability to make and take phone calls, respond to text messages, and check alerts even when their iPhones are miles away,” Valentina Palladino writes for Ars Technica. “I’ve spent just about a week with a Series 3 with LTE, and I have gotten glimpses of what it feels like to be successfully free of my iPhone. However, there were some problems for those of us who first tested the device, so I’m also quite familiar with what it feels like to be completely alone when wearable LTE fails.”

“I did have some clear problems over my few days of wearing the Series 3. For the first two days, the Watch worked as I expected. Then for some unknown reason, standalone LTE seemed to stop working,” Palladino writes. “After nearly two days of troubleshooting, the Watch seemed to reconnect to LTE in every instance it should… But in the time that the Watch seemingly didn’t work, it was a headache to figure out why. Ultimately, I never got a full explanation and, because of that, there’s no way to know if these problems will pop up for other users. However, what I can say for sure is that I wish there was a way to manually turn on and off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth from the Watch. Currently, you can only toggle cellular on and off through the Cellular icon in the Control Center… Considering the issues I had, and the issues others had with the Watch trying to connect to semi-known Wi-Fi networks, putting a Wi-Fi toggle in the Control Center would be a logical thing to do. This would allow you to refuse Wi-Fi connectivity in favor of LTE.”

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular). The freedom to go with just your Apple Watch.
Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular). The freedom to go with just your Apple Watch.

“It’s not easy to thoughtfully integrate cellular and LTE service on a wearable. A number of Android Wear devices have tried in the past, and none of them hit home runs. In my short time with the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, it’s clear that Apple has the software chops to make cellular and LTE a seamless feature in its wearables. When my device worked as expected, it was very easy to understand when the device was running on LTE data alone or only connected to Wi-Fi or my iPhone. The telephone interface on the Watch is great to use as well. With a number pad, your favorite and recent contacts, and your entire contact list, the Phone app isn’t nearly as cumbersome as I anticipated it to be despite the Watch’s small screen… I basically got a taste of what using a regular Series 3 Watch would be like, and it was great. The new S3 processor makes for faster, smoother interactions with on-Watch apps, listening to Siri’s answers rather than reading them frees up your hands and eyes to do other things, and the barometric altimeter consistently reported how many flights of stairs I climbed each day.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, there are teething pains being seen by early reviewers with pre-production units and carriers. We expect it’ll all be sorted out with a watchOS 4 update (to eliminate Apple’s self-inflicted captive Wi-Fi screw up) and with the carriers becoming familiar with integrating LTE Apple Watch units into their networks.

Some reviewers’ Apple Watch Series 3 ‘LTE issues’ due to easily-fixable Wi-Fi bug – September 20, 2017
Jim Dalrymple reviews Apple Watch Series 3: ‘Do yourself a favor and get one’ – September 20, 2017
Some reviewers’ Apple Watch Series 3 ‘LTE issues’ due to easily-fixable Wi-Fi bug – September 20, 2017
Wired reviews Apple Watch Series 3: ‘For the first time ever, I love the Apple Watch’ – September 20, 2017
9to5Mac reviews Apple Watch Series 3: Unlocks new potential with LTE, dramatically improved Siri – September 20, 2017
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple Watch Series 3 LTE models selling much faster than expected – September 18, 2017
Why the carriers must drop the Apple Watch LTE connectivity tax – September 15, 2017
How much Apple Watch Series 3 data plans will cost on Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint – September 14, 2017
Apple Watch, the world’s best-selling watch, can now work without an iPhone – September 12, 2017
New Apple Watch Series 3 delivers built-in cellular with powerful new health and fitness enhancements – September 12, 2017


  1. Three minutes of BS, thence smooth sailing. During my first exercise session sans iPhone, Music streaming worked flawlessly. Not one dropped note!

    Tim is fond of “magical,” but Watch Series 3 is close to such hyperbole.

  2. I’ve had an Apple Watch on my arm since day one and loved every minute – but the Series 3 LTE is a game-changer! I paired and activated mine with AT&T effortlessly on the Friday afternoon it was delivered. The very next morning I did a local triathlon. Rode the 5 miles to and from the race site plus used the new watch for the swim, bike and run legs of the race. I was away from my iPhone from 5am through 11am that morning. In addition to using it for those workouts, I sent and received several texts from friends and family, read a number of emails, and even placed a phone call to a training buddy after the race. After all of that, I still had 54% battery life left when I got back home to a charger. With my AirPods the new watch is awesome – will never take my phone along any more on runs, bike rides, and days out on the boat. I’ve had zero problems in using the watch either on LTE or when paired to my phone. I already see my phone taking on much less importance in my life. I’ve already seen myself leaving it on the charger in my car when getting in and out of the car running errands. In addition, with the new processor the Series 3 is significantly faster and smoother that the prior two models, and I’ve found watch OS4 along with iOS 11 to work in perfect harmony – little things like switching the AirPods from watch to phone and back now “just work” – everything appears to be well polished during use!

  3. Personally, I have no use for LTE. Sadly, Apple doesn’t give the option of a stainless steel case w/o LTE. So if I want a watch that will last (I’m hard on watches), I’ve got to shell out extra bucks for a feature I will never use (on top of the outrageous premium for stainless steel/Saphire).

    Oh well, seems like I’ll stick with my original for a few years more. Helps justify the almost-$800 I paid for it in the first place. Apple loses on that one.

  4. Have a Series 3 (Olive Band) on my wrist right now. It is a great improvement over the Series 1 I passed on to a relative.

    I have yet to activate the LTE yet as I have no immediate need for it. I figure Apple and the carries will sort this out shortly, plus I think better deals on the Watch will be coming shortly.

    I do have a question:
    I am on AT&T with a legacy unlimited plan and am not under contract (I buy my phones outright). The AT&T website does not show that plan as one that they support with the $10/month for LTE watches. Anybody here have the old iPhone unlimited AT&T plan and the LTE Watch?

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