Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Adventure Tech: The Apple Watch Series 3 with Cellular

Yesterday, Apple took the wraps off some exciting new products, including three new iPhone models, a new 4K AppleTV, and more. Perhaps the most interesting and exciting new device to be revealed however was the company's third generation Apple Watch (dubbed Series 3), which now comes with built-in cellular networking capabilities, making it particularly appealing to frequent travelers, athletes, and outdoor adventurers alike.

When the Apple Watch was originally released, it was criticized by many for being a product that no one really asked for or needed. As an owner of a first generation Watch, I can tell you that it is a device that you really don't know you need until you've owned it for awhile. Then, its true utility dawns on you as you become accustomed to getting notifications and text messages on your wrist, using it to track fitness, provide walking directions while navigating a new city, and so much more. Over the past couple of years, Apple has continued to evolve the product, adding GPS and making it waterproof with the Series 2 last year for example. But now, with the addition of cellular networking, it feels like the Watch has reached its full potential, freeing it completely from the tether of the iPhone.

With this update, the Watch can now send and receive text messages, make phone calls, and interact with Siri, all without the phone being nearby. In fact, you can leave the phone at home altogether, but not miss its important functionality. This would come in very handy while out on a run or bike ride for instance, when you may not want to take your phone with you, but still would like to stay in touch with others. That is all possible now, thanks to this upgraded watch.

On top of that, the Apple Watch also comes loaded with Apple Music, the company's music streaming service. This gives the users the ability to listen to music from a massive library of more than 40 million songs, all without an iPod or iPhone. Simply connect a set of Bluetooth headphones (I recommend Apple's very own AirPods), select an album, artist, or genre, and go. Again, this is a tremendous option for outdoor athletes looking to carry fewer items with them during a workout.


Reportedly, the sensors and accelerometers inside the new Apple Watch have gotten upgrades too, and it is said to be much better at tracking heart rate. Those are all good things for athletes as well, as it means that it has become an even better fitness tracker. I use mine while running almost every day, and it has been a tremendous motivator.

Of course, there are still questions to be answered about the device. For instance, how big of an impact does cellular networking have on the battery life? I love my Apple Watch, but I pretty much have to charge it every day, which is more than I would like. Apple has to at least maintain the same level of charge, or the Series 3 is a step backwards in my opinion.

The cellular carriers are still sorting out the details on how this will work on their networks too, but it seems most will offer data and voice connections for an additional $10 a month to your existing cellular plan. That's fairly reasonable to me, although we'll still have to see how well it works in the real world.

Preorders for the Series 3 Apple Watch begin September 15 and the device goes on sale on September 22. It will come in two versions, with or without cellular networking. The fully equipped model will sell for $399, while the Watch without cellular starts at $329.

Find out more at Apple.com.

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