The Apple Watch no longer relies on an iPhone for connectivity. Starting with the Apple Watch Series 3, users will have the option to pay an additional fee per month to a wireless carrier for LTE connectivity.
Apple announced the updated wearable at the inaugural event for Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif., on Tuesday.
With cellular connectivity included, the watch can receive emails or messages, and it can receive or place calls without an iPhone nearby. Previously, the Apple Watch required a Wi-Fi or a Bluetooth connection for connectivity.
Apple Watch Series 3 users won’t have to sign up for an additional phone number specific to the watch, as is the case with Android smartwatches that connect to wireless carriers.
In the US, all four major carriers have announced the Apple Watch Series 3 will work on their respective networks. AT&T will charge users $10 a month for the watch to access its network, sharing the wireless plan the user is on. Verizon Wireless will offer three months of free service for Apple Watch Series 3 users, after which it will cost $10 per month. T-Mobile and Sprint have yet to announce monthly pricing.
To be clear, users who purchase the Series 3 model with cellular connectivity are not obligated to activate it on a wireless plan.
Apple CEO Tim Cook started the Apple Watch portion of the keynote detailing a 50-percent growth last quarter when compared to the same time last year. Cook also boasted the Apple Watch is the top selling watch in the world and has a 97-percent customer satisfaction rating.
A faster processor, improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip, and a display that doubles as an antenna, are all inside the same size of housing as the Apple Watch Series 2.
On the outside, apart from red highlight on the digital crown, the Apple Watch Series 3 looks identical to its predecessors.
The new Apple Watch Series 3 goes on sale starting Sept. 15, with pricing starting at $399 for the cellular version. Apple created a non-cellular Series 3 watch, priced at $329. The Apple Watch Series 3 will officially launch on Sept. 22.
Also announced were new Apple Watch bands, ranging from Nike exclusive colors to a new sport loop band.
Update: This post has been updated to include carrier pricing.
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