Apple is working on adding mobile network connectivity to the next generation of its Watch, in addition to giving it a faster processor, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing “people familiar with the matter”.
It has been suggested that in its current form, the potential of Apple Watch is limited due to its reliance on a paired iPhone. Adding its own mobile connectivity would enable it to become more self-sufficient, rather than purely a peripheral.
But while other vendors have offered cellular-connected smart watches, there is little evidence that there is much of a market for them.
Indeed, it is not clear to what extent users would be prepared to pay for an extra mobile subscription for a connected watch, or whether operators are geared-up to offer a bundled subscription that could support Apple Watch alongside a smartphone (some operators already offer shared data plans, for example, but this is not ubiquitous).
The real challenge, however, will be in maintaining battery life if Apple adds mobile connectivity to Watch. Battery life is already an issue for some users, and adding another power-draining feature may not be universally popular.
With Apple Watch having reached the market 12 months ago, the device is coming up for a refresh, although it is likely that this will not take place until the company unveils its next iPhones later this year.