Apple has announced its third generation of its smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 3, alongside its new iPhones.
There were by no means as many leaks surrounding the next Apple Watch as there were the iPhones, but everything is now official so here is everything you need to know about the Apple Watch Series 3.
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Apple Watch Series 3: Design
- Same form factor
- Interchangeable straps, compatible with all models
- Digital crown has red accent
Apple stuck to same design for the Series 2 model as the Series 1 model, though it added GPS and waterproofing to the mix with the newer model and introduced a ceramic model. The rectangular form features interchangeable straps, which are all compatible with both models, a digital crown on the right-hand side, another button on the left and a heart rate sensor underneath the face.
Despite rumours the next Apple Watch would come with an "all-new form factor", the Series 3 model takes on the same rectangular design found on the Series 1 and Series 2 models.
The interchangeable straps remain and any straps you've bought for previous models will remain compatible. Where the Series 3 model differentiates itself from its predecessors is the addition of a red accent on the Digital Crown rather than black, as well as the introduction of improved hardware and LTE connectivity - more on that later.
A heart rate sensor is again positioned beneath the watch face and like the Series 2, the Series 3 is waterproof with GPS built-in. The Series 3 will be available in numerous models, with various strap and material options including aluminium, stainless steel and ceramic. Apple has introduced a couple of new finishes to the Series 3 however, including Ceramic Gray.
Size options remain at 38mm and 42mm like the original Apple Watch. The Series 1 model will continue to be sold alongside the Series 3 but with a cheaper starting price, while the Series 2 model that launched last year will be discontinued through Apple.
Apple Watch Series 3: Hardware and specs
- New processor called W2
- All-day battery life up to 18-hours
- LTE capability
The Apple Watch Series 3 comes complete with a new dual-core processor, which Apple is calling the W2 chip. The company claims it will offer 70 per cent more performance, while being 85 per cent faster and 50 per cent more efficient. Most succeeding devices improve on their predecessor's hardware specs though so a faster and more capable chip comes as no surprise to most though it does mean Siri will be able to talk directly from the Watch.
The Apple Watch Series 3 also launches with built-in LTE capability, something only a handful of current smartwatches offer. It was reported that Intel is responsible for the LTE modem within the Apple Watch Series 3 but Apple hasn't confirmed this.
LTE connectivity means users will be able to use their Apple Watch Series 3 without their iPhone for making and receiving calls, sending and receiving messages and using apps. You'll still need an iPhone for the Apple Watch Series 3 when it comes to pairing and updating etc, but the Series 3 will be able to stand on its own two feet if you leave your iPhone at home for the day, for example.
The display will act as the antenna and the Apple Watch Series 3 will use the same phone number as your iPhone so you won't need to juggle two numbers and you'll still get your phone calls and messages. The Apple Watch Series 3 will be available in an LTE model and a standard model without LTE, like the company's iPad models.
The battery life is claimed to be up to 18 hours and Apple has also introduced a new barometric altimeter to the Watch Series 3.
Apple Watch Series 3: Features
- Built-in GPS and waterproofing
- Barometer altimeter
- Built-in LTE an option
The Apple Watch Series 2 model introduced built-in GPS and waterproofing over Series 1, both of which continue through to the Series 3 model, as many will have expected.
Built-in LTE allows the Apple Watch to offer full functionality without your phone, as we mentioned above. Previous Apple Watch models had to be in range of your iPhone in order to deliver notifications and what not, which is fine, until you forget your iPhone at home. LTE functionality means your Series 3 watch can still function on your wrist while you're at the office, even if your iPhone is at home.
A heart rate monitor is also present on the Apple Watch Series 3, as we also mentioned briefly above. Apple placed a big focus on fitness with the Series 2, with great swim tracking and other features present so it's no surprise to see the same functionality appear on the Series 3 model.
Apple has made several improvements to the heart rate monitor that will appear in Watch OS 4. The new software will offer new measurements including resting heart rate and recovery heart rate. It will also notify you when it detects an elevated heart rate when you don't appear to be active.
Apple Watch Series 3: Release date and price
- Announced 12 September
- Pre-orders start 15 September, in stores from 22 September
- Starting price of $329
The first generation of Apple Watch was announced in 2014, though not released until 2015, while the second generation, the Apple Watch Series 2, followed two years later from the original Apple Watch announcement in September 2016.
Apple didn't wait another two years for the Apple Watch Series 3 though, announcing the third-generation device on 12 September 2017, alongside three new iPhones, moving the cycle to one-year rather than one-and-a-half to two. Pre-orders for the new device will start on 15 September 2017 and the smartwatch will be in stores from 22 September.
In terms of price, the Apple Watch Series 3 will start at $329, with the LTE model starting at $399, increasing significantly depending on material. The Apple Watch Series 1 sees a price drop to $249, while the Series 2 will be discontinued.