Rumor: Next-gen Apple Watch may feature LTE support, but focus on data instead of cellular phone calls until end of 2017

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Date: Thursday, August 17th, 2017, 05:13
Category: Apple Watch, Hardware, Rumor, Software, Wearables

The next-gen Apple Watch may arrive with LTE, but it may focus the LTE data on serving FaceTime and app data needs as opposed to making cell phone calls.

Per a note released to investors on Wednesday, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the Apple Watch with LTE won’t support traditional cellular voice calls this year.

Kuo claimed that Apple will probably add support for calls in a future software update. Until then, apps such as FaceTime and Skype could serve as stand-ins for calls.

“Technologically, while it’s feasible for LTE Apple Watch to support voice service & replace iPhones’ phone function,” Kuo wrote, “we think it must first improve the user experience of data transmission (not via iPhone).”

From Kuo’s perspective, as indicated in the research note, the lack of call support would both allow Apple to scrap 3G connectivity entirely, relying solely on LTE and allowing for a simpler antenna design.

Kuo also stated that he believes Apple will use eSIM technology as opposed to a physical SIM card. This isn’t surprising, as the Apple Watch has never offered a user-accessible physical port for input and also why users must mail their watch into Apple if a beta breaks the system.

Kuo noted that because not all carriers support eSIM, it’s possible that the Apple Watch’s LTE connection could only support certain countries and markets.

Finally, Kuo noted that Qualcomm will be responsible for the baseband chip in the next-gen Apple Watch. Even though Intel offers a competing chip, Kuo offered the opinion that it isn’t as efficient as Qualcomm’s design.

Apple is expected to unveil the next-gen Apple Watch come September along with next-gen iPhone models.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via AppleInsider

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