LTE watch no plan

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by michaelb5000, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. michaelb5000 macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2015
    I have a series 0 watch and am happy with it and probably won't upgrade for a while. I will also be too cheap to pay $10 a month for service, so would wait for that price to drop before signing up. But I am curious about the advantages to getting the LTE version without a plan.

    1) calling 911. All Cell companies have to process 911 calls even for a phone that doesn't have service. If this applies to the watch, then you get the true "emergency" part of having LTE on the watch as a one time cost. Useful for runners or others that don't have their phone; or if your phone gets destroyed by dropping it in a lake; or that one time you drive off the road into a ditch happens to be the day you forget your phone. Rescue may also be improved even if you can't get through to 911, since they may get some location data from the watch calling out to the towers.

    2) Assisted GPS. At least in the old days, GPS performance was significantly improved and speeded up by cellular assist. Since this may involve just hitting the towers, it may not need a plan. I actually don't know this, but if GPS was improved (in heavy woods, or in a city), that would be another good reason to get LTE.

    Now my main concern is whether not having a plan would impact the battery. Would the watch just skip using LTE if there was no plan. Does having LTE but not using it drain the battery plan or no plan. This is particularly a concern in areas with spotty coverage, since my experience is that drains a phone battery faster in the background then pretty much anything else.
  2. KarimLeVallois macrumors 68010


    Feb 22, 2014
    Very true, if I leave my iPhone on LTE at work the battery drains so quickly as it's constantly searching for a good signal as it's rather weak in here
  3. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    i think you can turn off the cellular connection and just the wifi/bluetooth. But don't quote me on this as i don't know and the people at the apple store know less then we do it seems. You would think there would be a meeting or memo sent out about it, no?
  4. nolatron, Sep 13, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017

    nolatron macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2008
    I was wondering about this myself. I don't particular need the LTE version, but the new Sport loop band looks interesting to me. If I bought with the GPS AW3 and then the sport loop, I'm only $20 shy of the GPS+LTE AW3 that comes with the sport loop.

    So I was curious if you get the LTE watch and simply not activate it. Then I'd at least have the option to activate and use it in the future. I don't use Apple Music, but if I could stream Amazon Music, that could be tempting.
  5. HDJulie macrumors demi-goddess

    Jun 13, 2008
    Little Rock, AR
    It is my intention to get the LTE version & not activate it for awhile. I assume that won't be a problem.
  6. DynaFXD macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2010
    East Coast
    The watch (LTE or not) can be tethered to the phone for its positional information. Sure it can acquire its own position if need be and do all that fun stuff, and burn up precious battery to do so, but that is not the normal operational strategy for the new or existing watches. It is still at is heart a companion device which needs an iPhone to make up its mixed-mode operation to get to the average or 18 hr run time as indicated. For sure, anyone could get the watch and just not enable the LTE like with the iPads. As a matter of fact, given two models I don't know why someone wouldn't go that route unless that $70 price difference is just too much. But it's nice to have options. I am planning on adding a new Series 3 plus LTE to go along with my Day 1 Series 0. Decisions decisions.
  7. ensee macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2005
    You also get 16GB of storage as opposed to 8GB in the non-LTE version. If you’re using it without connecting to an LTE network and the entire Apple Music library then paying a bit extra for the cellular model, albeit without a service plan, might work well for you
  8. porkrind macrumors regular


    Jun 30, 2015
    Assisted GPS requires actual data service. The connection not only provides a rough idea of location based on the tower you connect to, you end up downloading/updating the ephemeris data you'd normally need to get from the satellites over the course of several minutes in a cold start situation.

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7 September 13, 2017