The next Apple Watch will have LTE cell service

Last night an iOS 11 GM download link made its way onto Reddit, which 9to5Mac discovered and has been digging through.

You can check out the full list of discoveries here, but one big thing that stood out is that the next Apple Watch (or at least one version of it) will finally have LTE cell service, meaning it doesn’t need to be tethered to your phone at all times. The leaked screenshot above shows a LTE signal strength indicator in the top left corner of the watch.

The benefits of a cell connection are clear – you could stream music or take a phone call on a run without needing to keep your phone in your pocket.

Interestingly, 9to5Mac says that your LTE Apple Watch will share the same phone number as your existing iPhone. This means that you’ll be able to take calls on either device, and that plans may be less expensive than traditional data-only devices like an iPad.Traditionally carriers assign new phone numbers to devices even if they are only being used for data, like an iPad – so this is a new arrangement for carriers.


Lastly, a leaked setup screen from 9to5Mac suggests that the new LTE watch will have a red crown, to differentiate it from the older versions.

Two years ago, when the original Apple Watch launched, Tim Cook was spotted in an Apple Store sporting a version with a red crown. It’s not clear if this means Cook was testing a version of the LTE watch in the wild, or the red dot meant something different at the time.

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Fitbit is surging after it announced a big health partnership

Fitbit today came out with some additional news that might give Wall Street some signs of life as it looks to compete with an increasingly complicated fitness tracking environment — and the stock is surging this afternoon as a result.

Fitbit’s shares are up more than 11 percent after it announced a partnership with Dexcom, which would introduce glucose monitoring on the Ionic Smartwatch. This somewhat nudges Fitbit beyond just fitness tracking into something that’s more in the vein of health tracking in general. Starting in 2018, the Fitbit Ionic will show users data from a Dexcom G5 mobile sensor. It’s a collaboration that’s aimed at developing and marketing products to better manage diabetes.

Fitbit is well known for its fitness trackers, but increasingly there’s been a proliferation of trackers that focus on all areas of health. The Apple Watch is trying to move further into something that’s broader than simply fitness, and there are startups like Proof looking to pick away little niches like tracking blood alcohol content. The sum of all these little niches may end up as a comprehensive health tracking device, though cramming them all into one piece of hardware may prove more challenging than initially expected.

It’s a nice jump and a reprieve from a pretty ho-hum month for Fitbit, which has seen a slight bump in its performance.


Still, any sign of life that alters the calculus of the kind of business Fitbit can build means there’s likely going to be a big stock price swing like we’re seeing today. Fitbit has barely sustained “unicorn” status, but it’s nowhere near where it was when it went public, and has had to fight to convince Wall Street that it’s a real, healthy company.

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