Apple cut the strings on its smartwatch.
Enter the Apple Watch Series 3, the latest entry into its growing family of wearables.
At Apple’s event in its new headquarters in Cupertino, Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations announced new features for the latest smartwatch, which has cellular built in. In the Apple Watch’s last upgrade, the second-generation model gained a faster processor, a larger battery and GPS, as well as becoming waterproof.
The watch will be available on September 22, with orders beginning on September 15.
While Apple Watch has dominated the smartwatch market, with Apple Watch driving nearly 70 percent of its growth, there’s still a question of just how much mainstream appeal these products have.
While Apple fanboys, early adopters and fitness-focused consumers jumped onto the bandwagon, smartwatches in general are still a relatively rare sight. But Apple is showing signs the tides are changing.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook noted that the Apple Watch is now the top-selling watch in the world, beating out companies like Rolex and Fossil. Apple boasted a 50 percent year-over-year growth from 2016 for their smartwatch’s sale.
Williams introduced new features for WatchOS 4, which is slated for release on Sept. 19. It was announced in June, and features a redesigned interface, and a high-intensity workout in the Workout app.
The Apple Watch 3 will be able to tap into the cellular network, which means you don’t have to lug your iPhone along when you go on a run. The Watch will be able to run its own apps, play music and take calls on its own.
Williams boasted that the Watch Series 3 could play up to 40 million songs from Apple Music.
You’ll also be able to interact with Apple’s voice assistant Siri on the watch. The display itself is an antenna, and its SIM card is electronic.
“The biggest challenge was adding cellular,” Williams said.
The watch is expected to have 18 hours of battery life across a mix of LTE, WiFi and Bluetooth.
But it’s not the first watch with independent connectivity. Samsung pioneered the feature and recently told CNET that half of the watches it sells in the US have LTE modems.
Despite Samsung’s bullishness, there’s some question about whether the addition of LTE is worth other tradeoffs. The knock on LTE-enabled smartwatches are they’re even bulkier than regular smartwatches, and suffer from weaker battery life.
Google, for instance, said its Android Wear partners in the fashion world, from Tag Heuer to Michael Kors, are focusing on just Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled watches that connect to the phone.
Series 3 will have a new gold aluminum finish, with silver and space gray, along with a sport loop band.
CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this report.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.