from the watch-out! dept.
The Apple Watch Series 3 looks, acts, and feels almost exactly the same as the Series 2 with a key difference—LTE wireless connectivity, whether your iPhone is nearby or not. We tested the Series 3 on-site at Apple's unveiling event, including trying just a few of the new features.
The Series 3 watch still uses your iPhone's connection when the phone is nearby, but as soon as you move away from the phone, the Series 3 LTE seamlessly kicks in. We weren't able to test this at the event; all the Watches on display were flying solo, sans phones.
You can make calls directly from the Watch by tapping a button on the top-left corner of the watch face. From there, you can browse contacts to reach out to through a few interfaces: favorites, recents, contacts, and the keypad. So it's just like using your phone—or really, like the previous Apple Watch, for the most part. The difference is that you can do it anywhere.
The Watch intelligently picks up your voice, and you do not have to hold it up to your mouth—in ideal conditions, anyway.
Dick Tracy fans rejoice.
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The new Apple Watch is mostly an iterative update over its predecessor, but for one major feature: LTE. The addition of cellular connectivity has been touted as everything from "nice" to "game changing," but reviewers appear to have early issues in testing. I didn't run into any in my own testing, but the Verge reported some big hiccups connecting to the cellular network on the device.
An Apple spokeswoman confirmed the problem with TechCrunch, stating, "We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular. We are investigating a fix for a future software release."
The LTE also does not work if you take the device to another country.