The new Apple Watch is now official, offering one big highlight upgrade over the previous version: Built-in LTE support. Wireless LTE connectivity provided by a built-in chip means the new Apple Watch will be able to stay connected even when it’s not tethered to an iPhone, which is a huge step forward in terms of making it an independent mobile device.
Basically, it means you can make and receive calls, as well as messages, while away from your iPhone using just the Apple Watch. The Watch will use a separate LTE connection when away from the phone, but it will still use the same phone number so that messages and texts all get to you regardless of whether you have your phone or watch with you or not.
The new Apple Watch is visually quite similar to the existing version, with backwards compatibility with existing straps and bands. There’s a new Blush Gold color to match the new iPhone color option, and a new Ceramic Gray for the higher-end models that joins the existing white. Plus, the LTE version sports that red crown for an extra bit of visual flare.
Tim Cook touted an ‘industry-leading’ customer satisfaction rate of 97 percent for the Apple Watch on stage at today’s event, and noted that it was the number one watch brand in the world now, based on worldwide sales, provided it’s using the same metric as last year.
Apple is also improving the heart rate app for Watch software with new features including a heart rate complication for the main watch face, new measurements including resting heart rate, and a recovering heart rate that shows how fast your rate drops after you complete a workout.
They’re also now notifying you when it detects that you have an elevated heart rate, but you aren’t actually being active. And they’ll alert you when you have an arrhythmia, or an irregular heart rate compared to your usual stats. That could help it spot health problems earlier, including strokes, before they become more serious.
To that end, it’s doing an ‘Apple Heart Study’ with Stanford, coming to the App sStore later this year.