Apple is working to add cellular connectivity to the next version of the Apple Watch, alongside a faster processor, The Wall Street Journal’s Daisuke Wakabayashi reports.
However, it might be difficult to convince users who already pay for a data plan on their smartphone to add another one for their watch.
Late last week, Apple announced that all new watch apps will need to be “native,” which means that they will need to be able to run completely on the watch’s hardware, without transferring data back and forth from its host iPhone.
But these two developments together suggest that Apple is planning to make the second Apple Watch much more independent than the first-generation watch.
For users, this should mean snappier performance, without the lag that occurs as the watch waits for the iPhone to give it new data. The faster new processor should help with performance as well.
One of the primary criticisms of Apple’s watch is that it’s more of an accessory than an actual platform, but adding an independent cellular connection and forcing apps to run on the device themselves could open up several new uses for app developers.
“Once the watch apps are able to be run independent from the phone, then potentially it’s its own app. But for now, the watch app is clearly a companion, because it literally cannot do anything without the phone,” Will Price, CEO of Simple Control, said last month.
Apple is expected to release a new version of the Apple Watch later this year. The new version with a cellular connection and faster processor may be released as soon as Apple’s developers conference in June, or more likely alongside new iPhones in the fall.