Apple Watch Series 3: More freedom without an iPhone

Apple Watch Series 3 Launch

The Apple Watch is no longer just the world’s most popular smartwatch. It’s also currently the world’s number one watch.

For its third generation smartwatch, Apple has retained its iconic square face design but they have added more functions for greater freedom. In last year’s Series 2, Apple had added GPS and water resistance for swimming so that you can use your watch in more places than before. For this year, they are making the watch more independent and you can use it standalone almost anywhere without having to bring your iPhone.

Apple isn’t the first to implement a cellular connected smartwatch. Supporting both 4G LTE and 3G, the Apple Watch Series 3 cellular model uses an embedded e-SIM instead of a physical card. Having an embedded SIM makes activation easier and it can share the same number as your iPhone. For optimal 4G and 3G reception, the radio antennas are embedded in the display itself, which Apple says it is the first in the industry.

Like the previous generation, the Apple Watch Series 3 comes in two sizes – 38mm (340×272) and 42mm (390×312). The screen is similar to Series 2 with a second generation OLED Retina Display that has a brightness of up to 1000 nits. The standard version with aluminium case uses Ion-X glass while the more expensive stainless steel and ceramic variants use scratch resistive sapphire crystal.

With built-in cellular support, you can answer voice calls, receive notifications, launch map navigation and even reply WeChat messages without having an iPhone close to you. In addition, Siri finally has a voice so you can hear responses from your wrist.

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Once watchOS 4 is rolled out, you can stream Apple Music independently. This lets you go for a workout with just your watch and your pair of AirPods. On top of that, watchOS also brings an updated Heart Rate app. It takes into account your heart rate during resting, workout, recovery and breathing.

Powering the Apple Watch Series 3 is a newer dual-core processor and W2 wireless chip that offers 70% faster performance. It’s also swim-proof up to 50-metres, comes with built-in GPS and it retains the same 18-hour all-day battery life. In terms of sensors, the Series 3 also comes with a barometric altimeter built in to measure relative elevation.

The Apple Series 3 comes in both cellular and non-cellular version. The cellular version gets a red digital crown and has double the storage at 16GB. Currently, it is planned for selected markets and it will be heading to the US, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, UK, Germany, France and Switzerland. For the rest of the world, you’ll only be getting the standard version which still comes with built-in GPS. To refresh its appeal, Apple has also introduced several new bands which include new options for Nike and Hermes.

The standard Series 3 is priced from $329 (about RM1,384) while the cellular version starts from $399 (about RM1,678). Apple is still retaining the Series 1 as their entry-level model and it’s priced from $249 (about RM1,047) in the US. The new Apple Watch will be available for pre-order in first wave countries beginning this Friday, 15 September and it will be available the following week on 22 September.

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Alexander Wong