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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The third-generation Apple Watch, set to launch this fall with LTE support for the first time, is unlikely to support phone calls, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors in a note shared this morning.

According to Kuo, while a voice service that replaces the iPhone's calling functionality is "feasible," he believes Apple must first work on improving the "user experience of data transmission." As a result, he says the Apple Watch "probably" won't support traditional phone calls "this year."


The watch could, however, support VoIP services like FaceTime and Skype, as FaceTime audio calling is already supported on current Apple Watch models.
This has two benefits: (1) negotiations with mobile operators will be more simple and the chances of cooperation with mobile operators will improve; and (2) 3G connectivity can be scrapped, simplifying the antenna design and facilitating internal design. However, we think there is a chance that users may use LTE Apple Watch to access VoIP services, such as FaceTime and Skype.
Kuo also says that based on a lack of internal space, the LTE Apple Watch is likely to use an eSIM instead of a physical SIM slot, with the device set up to share the same phone number with an iPhone. He warns that LTE connectivity in the Apple Watch could be limited to specific countries and markets as not all mobile operators support that particular business model.

Rumors have already suggested that the major carriers in the United States, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will support and sell the upcoming LTE Apple Watch.

Though Apple is currently embroiled in an ongoing patent dispute with Qualcomm, Kuo believes Apple will use Qualcomm chips in the Apple Watch because Qualcomm's technology is superior to Intel's with smaller chips that consume less power.

Finally, Kuo predicts Apple has no intention of developing an Android app for the Apple Watch at this time, given that it would be difficult to have the same deep integration between Apple Watch and an Android phone that's possible with the Apple Watch and iPhone.

The third-generation Apple Watch is expected to be introduced in September alongside new iPhones. LTE connectivity is expected to be the main selling point for the device, and while there were some rumors pointing towards major design changes, Kuo has previously said there will be no "obvious change" to the form factor.

Article Link: Apple Watch Series 3 Unlikely to Support Direct Phone Calls, but VoIP Calling a Possibility


macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
There has to be a way to set this up so its not considered a stand alone device so pricing reflects what it can do. If this will use the network for simple updates or whatever then maybe throw me access if I already have a phone account with the carrier. Maybe make this cheaper to add like a couple of dollars. If this will only do some of what a full device can do then only bill me some. I am anxious to see how this goes and what it does before I decide I even want to fool with it. I'm ready to look since I have a launch day watch but not sure I want it for yet another monthly fee. I am monthly fee'd out at the moment.
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macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2010
I feel like this is all going to be about what the carriers charge. Obviously it would piggyback on existing data plans but the question is the line/device access charge. LTE functionality in Apple Watch would be nice but it's not something for which I would pay more than around $5/month.


macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
Two things:

I am ok with LTE only, I would think the "calls on other devices" on iPhone Settings will allow regular calls to go over VOIP on LTE just as it does on wifi

If it shares the same number, curious as to what happens for customers on a corporate plan (where the company pays the bill). I know mine will not jump through any hoops to add a device to my subscription even if it were free.


macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2005
They should make it compatible with Android. I'm sure the deep integration can be achieved if they really wanted to ;)

I think It would be a good Trojan horse in the android market and get back users as we know that andriod is the most used mobile operating system (i'm just talking by the numbers here).


Sep 16, 2014
Calling will come on next year's device with new form factor. Same with iPhone 8 having 1 size this year, there will be a plus next year. That's how Apple is, always testing things. Not always a bad thing but in this case.. this is why I keep on saying it like a broken record, waiting till next year will be much more bang for your buck then this year. Not a whole heck of a lot has changed.. lots of minor updates.


macrumors 68040
May 29, 2003
One phrase: too little battery power!

That pretty much sums it up, transmitting on LTE takes a lot of power; as such Apple would need significantly more battery power in the device as one phone call could easily kill the current battery. Now it isnt impossible for Apple to have access to new battery tech but that isnt part of the rumors. Id live to see such advancements in Apples watch because eventually we will get to the point that Apples watch will replace todays IPhone.


macrumors 68040
May 29, 2003
Many people skipped Series 2 for exactly this reason. Maybe they are lucky.
Seriously who really cares? They could come out with a new watch every 6 months or every 6 years and it wouldn't make a difference to me. To put it simply, nobody has to buy a new Apple product. Your life won't come to and end if you don't have the latest and greatest. If it does you have significant issues that needs addressing.


macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
Central U.S.
I think a lot of people are missing something important: If the watch is completely untethered from the phone, then that means that the watch is going to have 100% native apps and will likely be much faster than previous models. It will be like a micro iPad with a data plan.

As for the data plan, I really hope it is something virtual where your watch just shares the same data plan as your phone. I'm not willing to buy a data plan for my watch, lol. That's crazy. Maybe someday when the watch can do a lot more if it's only $5/mo. But considering the limited data it would use anyway, it should just be included with service. If AT&T and Verizon charge for it, I could see T-Mobile offering it free with service to compete, which I would be fine with since I switched to them earlier this year.


Feb 5, 2009
Is anyone really opposed to this? It's obvious most people use their phones and smart devices for anything other than phone calls, nowadays. Even then, my preference is to use a VOIP app or FaceTime Audio, which runs over LTE/data. The quality is exceptionally better.


macrumors 68040
May 29, 2003
I can't imagine why you'd want this functionality in a watch, but if you do, I'm sure it'll be able to use Handoff to place and answer phone calls just like the Mac does.
Eventually Watch will replace the iPhone for many people. I don't think the technology is there yet as you cant stuff enough computational capacity in the Watch and maintain battery life to provide the required services. But the day will come when Watch has the functionality most people need on the go.

Frankly beyond the power issue the other big problem is getting a handle on the AI tech that drives Siri. Watch would need to function much more cleanly in conjunction with Siri. But hey Apple is working on that too.


macrumors 6502
Apr 22, 2015
This is one of those things that people say they want but really don't. Battery life is going to suck, and making calls from your wrist is already something pretty much no one does from their existing AW. Without apps there's almost no reason to have data on the watch, and I can't see how anyone could make a useful enough app on such a limited screen to make it worth adding another device to a mobile plan, even if discounted. The only possible case I can see it for is running while listening to streaming music, but that's such a small group of people as to be effectively nil.


macrumors 6502
Apr 22, 2015
Eventually Watch will replace the iPhone for many people. I don't think the technology is there yet as you cant stuff enough computational capacity in the Watch and maintain battery life to provide the required services. But the day will come when Watch has the functionality most people need on the go. ...

You're just making stuff up without any base in reality. The watch screen is so small you can't do pretty much anything with it, and no one makes voice phone calls anymore. Even 10 years in the future where the CPU and battery are better, you're still limited by the screen size. Anything beyond that is Sci-Fi not reality.
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macrumors 68000
Sep 18, 2007
New Mexico
Apple has to buy AT&T and Verizon first. THEN there will be some fireworks...oh wait, there won't be anyone left to light them.

I don't own any of this stuff, but can't wait.
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