Apple Watch Series 3 Is a Small Upgrade, but Important Step Forward

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Apple Watch Series 3 Is a Small Upgrade, but Important Step Forward

Since the Apple Watch’s initial release in 2015, the smartwatch has been tethered to the iPhone, requiring users who wanted to make calls, interact with data-heavy apps or send text messages to keep an iPhone nearby. Now, that has changed. Apple Watch Series 3, which was announced Sept. 12, comes with a cellular connection, eliminating the smartwatch’s reliance on the iPhone. The Apple Watch Series 3 also has some significant health- and fitness-related improvements. And, with a price tag that should attract budget-conscious shoppers, it might prove to be a hit this holiday season. This slide show discusses the Apple Watch Series 3's features that could bring new buyers to the iPhone maker's third-generation smartwatch.

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Cellular Access Makes a Big Difference

The biggest new feature in the Apple Watch Series 3 is cellular connectivity. The feature enables users to place and accept calls over Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint networks. Apps also can use data over cellular networks. The experience will be like having an iPhone strapped to your wrist.

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Make Calls on the Apple Watch Without Your iPhone Near

How does the Apple Watch Series 3 cellular handle calling? The smartwatch will use the same number as the user’s primary smartphone. Users can access the Phone app from Apple Watch and place and receive calls. A built-in microphone and speaker allows for the phone support.

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The Apple Watch Design Is Little Changed

Apple didn’t do much to modify the design of its new smartwatch. The dial now has a red dot, but the screen is the same size and the smartwatch’s look and feel are nearly identical to previous versions.

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Apple Music Comes to Apple Watch

Apple Music is coming to the Apple Watch Series 3, the company confirmed Sept. 19. Users will be able to access Apple Music and stream its 40 million songs from the wrist without needing an iPhone’s support. The music plays through the Apple Watch’s speakers.

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The Smartwatch Gets a Small Power Boost

Apple Watch Series 3 ships with the company’s Apple S3 processor for better app performance. The chip is bolstered by 16GB of storage on the cellular side. Look for Apple Watch Series 3’s performance to be much faster and far more reliable than that of the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2.

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Apple Pushes the Fitness Opportunities

Apple Watch Series 3 should prove to have the company’s most advanced fitness tracker. Full activity-tracking features as well as a smart coaching tool will help keep users focused on improving their health. Personalized fitness goals and recommendations round out the device’s wellness features.

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A Nod to Your Health

Apple is also pitching its new smartwatch as a tool for monitoring user health. The company has improved the heart-monitoring tool to make it easier for users to observe the condition of their heartbeats. Apple Watch Series 3 can even be used to identify arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation, when the company’s Apple Heart Study launches later this year.

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There Are Plenty of Feature Options

The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in both 38mm and 42mm cases in a variety of materials, including the high-end ceramic. On the wristband side, users can choose from a variety of materials ranging from leather to nylon. Nike also offers its own branded Apple Watch version.

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It Costs Money to Keep the Apple Watch Connected

Buying Apple Watch Series 3 is one thing. But there’s more than the purchase price: Apple’s carrier partners are charging users $10 per month to connect the smartwatch to their networks. So, in addition to the purchase price, users should expect to pay $120 per year to keep a cellular Apple Watch connected.

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It's Nearly Half the Price of an iPhone

Apple Watch Series 3 devices are available for pre-order and will be heading to store shelves Sept. 22. Pricing is all over the board, depending on the version, but non-cellular models start at $329 and cellular models will cost $399 to start.

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