It’s time for Apple to let Apple Watch stand alone, without requiring an iPhone

Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) in Stainless Steel Case with White Sport Band (40mm left, 44mm right)
Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) in Stainless Steel Case with White Sport Band (40mm left, 44mm right)

Freeing the Apple Watch from iPhone could allow Apple to grab an even larger share of the smartwatch market it already dominates.

Leif Johnson for Macworld:

By the time watchOS 6 drops later this year, only the slimmest of threads will keep the Apple Watch tethered to the iPhone. The watch itself will soon have its own App Store. It’ll have more useful built-in apps, such as a calculator and voice memos, and long ago, the cellular models eliminated the need to rely on the iPhone for internet connection. It’s already so close to being a standalone device, so I say it’s time for Apple to snip the last thread and open it to buyers who don’t have an iPhone.

The Apple Watch is already a hit with its current design, but a standalone Apple Watch may turn into a cultural phenomenon of the likes that Apple hasn’t seen in years now. Even handcuffed to the iPhone, the Apple Watch is already the undisputed leader of the smartwatch world… With the rest of the smartwatch market so weak, making the Apple Watch a standalone device would be tantamount to going in for the kill.

MacDailyNews Take: Not only would a standalone Apple Watch spur sales, it would drive third-party Apple Watch app development which are currently treated as a bit of an afterthought since they require an iPhone parent app. With some users having Apple Watch units without iPhones, the Watch apps themselves would need to be fully able to work on their own, too!


  1. At one time, there was talk of health insurance companies giving out or discounting AppleWatches to their subscribers. I certainly didn’t think it meant the subscribers had to have iPhones to use those AppleWatches. Apple isn’t going to get any major market share percentage if everything they offer requires owning an iPhone.

    I also couldn’t believe that an AppleCard user had to have an iPhone. I simply figured it would work on any iOS device that could use an AppleCard app. Why not even an Apple OSX computer being able to support AppleCard? These things just don’t make any sense to me. Is it because the device must have a Secure Enclave chip in it? Apple should at least allow the latest iPads to support AppleCard.

  2. Anyone who has used an Apple Watch independent of their phone soon learns that battery life takes a huge hit once LTE is invoked. The battery is just not there for Independence. Perhaps an Android app might make it possible, but it will likely be awhile before Apple does anything like that.

  3. It would be great for elderly people to have using the fall down feature, which basically requires no input at all to call emergency services. All the other measures such as panic button around the neck, or a cell phones, all of which require some form of intervention to call are not the best solutions. The standalone cellular watch would fit the bill for this.

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