While the rumour mill is gathering momentum around the next iteration of the iPhone, it looks like the Apple Watch will also get an update later this year. Last year, Apple released the Apple Watch Series 2, adding GPS and waterproofing as well as announcing an alliance with Nike. But this year, we could see the Apple Watch pick up cellular comms so it can operate completely iPhone-free.
A report from Bloomberg, says Intel will supply the cellular modems now that Apple has solved the problem of how to build a small, cellular-capable device that won't run out of power in a couple of hours.
When Apple released the Apple Watch Series 2, one of the compromises it made was to increase the thickness of the device marginally to squeeze the new components in, as well as a slightly more capacious battery.
watchOS 4 is due out later this year and it would not be surprising, if Apple has the hardware right, for them to release a new watch at the same time.
Adding cellular comms to the Apple Watch would allow applications such as Spotify to stream content without an iPhone. For me, the big benefit would be the ability to allow someone to live track my location while I'm out running on a remote trail or to be able to make an emergency call in case I get into trouble.
Having suffered a bad fall on a trail last year and needing an ambulance to get me to medical care, I could see the value of this.
Using the Apple Watch Dick Tracy-style to make calls is less useful but paired with a decent Bluetooth headset it could be handy. Although it would mean people would have a second phone number unless cellular carriers change their one-SIM to one phone number policy.
I think it's inevitable that smart watches will integrate cellular comms. And, although Apple wouldn't be the first to do it, they would likely trigger other companies to follow suit in order to not be left behind.
Would you buy a cellular capable smart watch? What would be the killer app or service for you?