Ahead of Apple’s September event, some things about the high-end iPhone X remained a mystery despite a lot of pre-event rumors regarding the $1,000-plus smartphone. On the other hand, the Apple Watch Series 3 proved entirely predictable—we knew its distinctive feature would be standalone LTE service.
Wearables with LTE connectivity aren’t new, but the feature is new to the Apple Watch. So the move still marks a huge update to an Apple device that’s been around for less than three years. And it’s a big gamble for Apple considering other wearable manufacturers have tried (and largely failed) to make a good cellular wearable experience.
The Apple Watch Series 3 ultimately comes in two types of models: with LTE and without LTE. Those who opt for the $399 LTE models expect the ability to make and take phone calls, respond to text messages, and check alerts even when their iPhones are miles away. I’ve spent just about a week with a Series 3 with LTE, and I have gotten glimpses of what it feels like to be successfully free of my iPhone. However, there were some problems for those of us who first tested the device, so I’m also quite familiar with what it feels like to be completely alone when wearable LTE fails.