Apple just announced its new Apple Watch Series 3, which will have its own LTE cellular connection, making it a standalone device. Users should be able to make calls and send texts from the accessory, even if the affiliated iPhone isn’t in range.
“This has been our vision from the very beginning,” Apple COO Jeff Williams announced at the Apple event on Tuesday. “Now you have the freedom to go anywhere, with just your Apple Watch.”
The Series 3 will be 50% more power efficient for both Bluetooth and Wifi. And, the watch will let you stream 40 million songs on your wrist through Apple Music and Beats 1 Radio.
This is welcome news for Apple Watch-wearers who have wanted to ditch their iPhones when going for a run. But, users will have to add their new Watches to existing iPhone plans in addition to paying for the devices.
The version with cellular is $399 and the one without is $329. Series 1 watches will still be available for $249. Orders begin on September 15 and ships on September 22.
Doubling down on the health & wellness world
The Apple Watch is now the No. 1 selling watch globally in terms of sales, eclipsing Rolex, CEO Tim Cook said during the event.
In fact, the gadget’s sales were up over 50% last quarter, according to Cook.
“Apple Watch is having a positive impact on people’s health and daily lives and motivating them to sit less and move more. It’s the perfect companion for hiking, running and swimming,” he said during the company’s third-quarter conference call.
The watchOS4 will offer personalized activity coaching, new features for swimmers and GymKit, a program that connects workouts with cardio equipment. It will be available on September 19.
Apple is teaming up with organizations to distribute the watch to a wider audience outside of individual sales.
Williams announced the Apple Heart Study, which will use data from the Apple Watch and analyze abnormal heart rhythms. Apple is working on the initiative with Stanford Medicine.
Last month, Apple and Aetna (AET) met to discuss bringing the watch to millions of the health insurer’s customers. Aetna employees are currently playing around with the watch to monitor their own health, according to CNBC.
Apple’s decision to forge large-scale institutional partnerships may be the smartest way for the watch to reach the mass market.
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Melody Hahm is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.