Ditch Your Phone: Apple’s New Smartwatch Goes Cellular

Fitness tracking, phone calls, texts, navigation, and heart rate monitoring on your wrist: Apple’s Series 3 Smartwatch just might be the greatest fitness wearable yet.

Ten years after launching the iPhone, Apple announced it was time to leave it home. The upcoming Series 3 Smartwatch frees you from your phone to stream music, follow maps, and receive calls and texts while you train.

Apple Series 3 Cellular Smartwatch

With the Series 3, wearers can use their cellular number to make and receive calls through the watch. And they can use maps, connect to their preferred fitness apps, access Siri, and more, all without carrying a phone.

The original Apple Watch tracked fitness, but users needed their phone to take and make calls or texts, listen to music, or use GPS and altitude data. The Series 3 does all of it.

For outdoors activities, the newly added barometric altimeter is another big plus in this model. It can track altitude for sports like mountaineering and skiing, and should be helpful for weather forecasting.

Of course, the phone is faster, has greater capacity and battery life, and a more intuitive interface. But the Series 3 watch is yet another step toward integrating users with their tech.

The latest Apple Watch looks like a boon for gym rats and fitness nuts in particular. For starters, the Series 3 will sync with compatible fitness machines to pair your heart rate, speed, and calories burned with your equipment.

Apple also beefed up the Series 3 with improved cardiac monitoring. The Series 3 will track resting heart rate, calculate recovery heart rate, and alert you if your heart rate elevates when you’re not exercising. All of this has the intent of maximizing workouts and reducing stress.

The brand will also launch the Apple Heart Study app with the Series 3 watch. With it, users will contribute to, and receive alerts about, atrial fibrillation—or, irregular heartbeat.

Apple Cellular Smartwatch Specs

The Series 3 watch launches to the masses Sept. 22. It’s available for pre-order beginning Sept. 15. It will retail for $399 ($329 for the non-cellular version).

As noted, the watch will work with multiple third-party fitness apps, maps and GPS, altimeter, Apple music, and more. And it will sync your notifications, calendar, and other personal data from other devices.

To talk over cellular or control Siri, the watch has a built-in speaker. From the demonstration, it appears the speaker works fine without having to hold the watch close to your mouth.

The Series 3 is “swimproof” and Apple claims that “sound vibrations eject water from the speaker.” The cellular antenna is built into the display face and the watch will last 18 hours on a full charge.

Best of all, for ounce-conscious athletes concerned about a bulky wrist anchor, Apple announced the Series 3 is the same size as its predecessor.

Check out the full Apple Keynote here, and check the Series 3 site to pre-order on Sept. 15.

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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