Big scoop from Mark Gurman, Scott Moritz , and Ian King:
Currently, Apple requires its smartwatch to be connected wirelessly to an iPhone to stream music, download directions in maps, and send messages while on the go. Equipped with LTE chips, at least some new Apple Watch models, planned for release by the end of the year, will be able to conduct many tasks without an iPhone in range, the people said. For example, a user would be able to download new songs and use apps and leave their smartphone at home.
Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new Watch, according to another person familiar with the situation. That’s a big win for the chipmaker, which has been trying for years to get its components into more Apple mobile devices.
The tethering aspect of Apple Watch has ensured that it has remained an iPhone accessory, rather than a stand-alone product. A great business for Apple, but still an adjacent one. Could this change the equation?
My initial bet would be "no". I think Apple has honed in on the Apple Watch being good for workouts and notifications -- and its own wireless connection will make it better at both. But unless third-party developers come up with something truly revolutionary using the LTE connection, I think it remains mainly an iPhone accessory. Hope I'm wrong!Read more...