Apple Watch 3 Has a Pesky Hidden Cost

If you're planning on buying an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE connectivity, be aware that you'll be faced with a monthly fee equivalent to Netflix for your wrist.

At its press event on Tuesday (Sept. 12), Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 3. The device comes with the same design as last year's model, but offers LTE connectivity, allowing you to make calls and use data through your cellular network. The feature means you won't need to tether your iPhone to the Apple Watch and can stream music, get directions, use messaging apps and more on the go.

But what Apple didn't was the cost of connecting the Apple Watch Series 3 to your carrier of choice. To be fair, that cost comes from the carriers, but they're charging a pretty steep sum. T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T all announced that if you want to connect an Apple Watch to your account, you'll need to pay $10 per month per device. And the only way to qualify is by already having a smartphone plan with those carriers. Sprint will also carry the smartwatch but hasn't yet announced its pricing plans.

More: Apple Watch 3 Hands-On: It's Finally Untethered

So, in addition to shelling out at least $400 for a new Apple Watch Series 3, you'll also need to pay $10 a month per device to keep it running on your carrier network of choice. That significantly adds to the total cost of owning an Apple Watch Series 3. And after one year, your $400 device has now cost you about $500.

Some carriers are offering incentives to help mitigate that extra cost. Verizon and T-Mobile are both offering three months of service on the house, for example.

Also worth noting is that the Apple Watch uses the same number you have attached to your smartphone. So, smaller carriers that try to attract customers with lower-priced plans might be out of luck here, since you'll be forced to use the same carrier you already have.

Apple Watch Series 3 comes with some other improvements, including better performance under the hood. The device will also benefit from some software enhancements to watchOS 4 that will do a better job of tracking your heart rate and analyzing your activity level.

Apple Watch Series 3 will be available for pre-order on Friday, Sept. 15, and go on sale Sept. 22.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.