Wednesday morning technology writers began to publish reviews of the Apple Watch Series 3. Specifically, of the Series 3 model with an LTE connection.
The results have been, well, mixed.
CNET’s Scott Stein dinged the newest model for battery life and monthly fees for a cellular connection. And BuzzFeed’s Nicole Nguyen placed calls on the watch from San Francisco Bay, while also pointing out battery life is a bit of a letdown.
If you’ve ever used or read up on LTE smartwatches, complaints about battery life are the norm. Sure, there was hope Apple figured out the magical mix of software and hardware for the Apple Watch Series 3 to excel where others failed. But, that wasn’t the case.
The bigger story to come out of the reviews is issues with LTE connectivity itself. The Verge’s Lauren Goode and The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern shared the same experience – LTE connectivity was an exercise in frustration and failed to consistently work.
Just read the opening of Stern’s review and you’ll quickly decide to forgo logging into your WSJ account to get past the paywall:
There’s this moment in “Dick Tracy” where the fearless detective, chasing down a villainous gang, taps his magical wristwatch to call for backup. Then, realizing the battery is down to 8% and that cellular isn’t connecting, he ducks under a desk to find a power outlet and futz with the settings.
Poor Dick, he upgraded to the cellular version of the Apple Watch Series 3.
Goode’s experience was similar, with Apple replacing her review unit in a bid to fix the issue. Eventually, Apple provided The Verge with a statement about the issue, acknowledging the headlining feature of its latest wearable isn’t working properly.
Here’s the statement Apple provided to The Verge via email:
“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.”
Geoffrey Fowler, another technology reporter for The Wall Street Journal went so far to call the new Apple Watch “the most issue-plagued Apple product I’ve seen in years.” He then suggested to his Twitter followers “Do not buy one. At least not now.”
I have reached out to Apple asking for more information about the update and a possible fix as well as troubleshooting steps users can take once the watch is released. I’ll update this post when I hear back.
Remember, customers have already ordered and paid for a smartwatch that’s on its way to their doorstep as I write this. Watches will show up on Friday, Sept. 22, and users are going to have a frustrating experience right out of the box.
The headlining feature of the Series 3 watch is LTE connectivity, and it doesn’t work as it should – or in some cases, at all. No matter how you look at it, this is a big problem for Apple.