Apple took the wraps off the Apple Watch Series 3 at its iPhone event Tuesday, and while it doesn’t look any different from the second-generation model, there’s a whole lot going on inside. Now the watch can operate independently of your iPhone, thanks to cellular connectivity, though you will have to pay a monthly fee to your carrier.
There’s a whole lot more to look forward to when the Apple Watch Series 3 goes on sale Sept. 22, starting at $399 for the 38mm cellular model and $329 for the base model without cellular. Here are all the new features that Apple packed into the revamped watch, which will be available to preorder Sept. 15. And be sure to check out our hands-on impressions of the Apple Watch Series 3.
The rumors were true: Now you need a data plan for your new Apple Watch. The Series 3 has a cellular antenna inside for making calls using your iPhone’s number, using maps, streaming more than 40 million songs from Apple Music and even sharing your Apple Watch location with Find My Friends.
"This has been our vision from the very beginning,” Apple COO Jeff Williams said on-stage at Apple’s press event in Cupertino.
So how did Apple make the Series 3 just a smidge thicker than the Series? An electronic SIM card that takes up less space than even a nano SIM. The watch uses your iPhone’s number and you can buy a plan through your carrier. AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint all support the new cellular Apple Watch.
The Series 3 has a new dual-core processor that delivers up to 70 percent faster performance. That means Siri will respond faster. The new processor also allows Siri to talk back to you, which the assistant couldn’t do on older models.
The same chip that Apple used in its Bluetooth AirPods has arrived on the Series 3, which means its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are much faster than before.
The Series 3 sports a new sensor that can finally count stairs climbed and measure elevation gains, which will be incredibly useful for skiing and snowboarding apps.
The Series 3 is now available in a gold aluminum finish, in addition to silver and space grey options.
Apple created a new band called the Sport Loop to debut alongside the Series 3. It’s a light, stretchy and breathable strap that looks similar to the existing nylon option, but this one is optimized for workouts. Apple is also offering new colors in existing band materials, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.