Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) overtook Fitbit to become the world’s leading vendor of smartwatches in the wearable tech market segment in Q1 2017. Apple captured a 16% market share to overtake Fitbit as its new Apple Watch Series 2 continues to get a warm welcome in U.S., UK, and other parts of the world. Apple doesn’t break down its sales number but its sales more than doubled and it out paces the 2.9 million units that Fitbit sold and the 3.4 million units that Xiamo sold.
Despite the decent sales of the Watch, the device is still far from reaching its true value as a growth driver for the iPhone maker. For one, the device somewhat commands a hefty price tag (same as other Apple products) but the fact that it is dependent on an iPhone doesn’t really make a strong case for people to buy it. For the most part, you’ll find Apple diehards and fitness folks wearing an Apple Watch than a regular everyday user. Now, breaking news suggests that the firm is about to end the Watch’s dependence on the iPhone.
Meet the LTE-enabled Apple Watch
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is already in talks with key partners to build and release a Smartwatch with inbuilt LTE before the end of this year. Current Apple Watch in the market must be connected to an iPhone wirelessly to send messages, download directions, stream music, and do most of the other stuff. More so, they must be within the proximity of an iPhone to do such things.
However, having the Watch and your iPhone near you means the Watch only serves as a pager for notifications since you are more likely to do tasks on the iPhone because of the larger screen real estate.
The upcoming model of the Watch will be equipped with LTE chips so that you can perform a wide range of tasks without being in the range of an iPhone. The LTE modems for use the new Watch will be supplied by Intel Corp – a double edged move designed to spite Qualcomm who is involved in a patent war with Apple.
Interestingly, John Gruber at Daring Fireball writes that the new Watch might debut with an “all-new form factor” to accommodate the LTE modems that the device will need for cellular connectivity. It is still somewhat too early to know how Apple plans to pull off an LTE-enabled watch. However, the fact that the firm has previously hinted that it wants to make the Watch thinner raises new questions about how the form factor of the device could change.
Would you buy a cellular Watch?
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is making the Watch better with each new generation even though the device lacks the “insanely great” quality that accompanies devices in the days of Steve Jobs. Watch Series 2 is better than the first Watch because it has GPS and water proofing.
If the next Watch has cellular connectivity, the device will find itself at a much faster pace to mass adoption. However, cellular connectivity could add to the already premium price tag of the Watch – but then, pricing has never really pushed people away from buying an insanely great device.