Apple admits to LTE connectivity issues on new Apple Watch, shares tumble

Apple has a lot riding on its new Watch Series 3, which for the first time has cellular connectivity. While it’s not getting as much hype as the upcoming iPhone X, the new Watch was expected to distance itself further from its competitors in the wearables market.

But the excitement has partially fizzled out after reviews were published Wednesday, as several noted connectivity problems. Tech news website Verge’s review said that two Watches — on the AT&T network — would connect to unknown Wi-Fi networks rather than to cellular.

Apple said Wednesday there is a problem in the Watch that will be fixed with an upcoming software patch.

“We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular,” an Apple spokesperson told The Verge. “We are investigating a fix for a future software release.”

The Wall Street Journal experienced similar problems and published the same Apple mea culpa. The Journal reviewed “three separate pre-production models, in two different states, on two different 4G LTE carriers” and experienced similar connectivity issues.

“A cellular device is, sometimes literally, a lifeline,” wrote the Journal’s Joanna Stern. “That’s why I can’t recommend the cellular Apple Watch Series 3 until the connectivity is more reliable.”

The surprisingly negative reviews and Apple’s admission scared Wall Street, as Apple shares tumbled by 1.4 percent during Wednesday’s morning trading hours.

In addition to the poor connectivity, the battery life was not great as well. While the Watch can last an entire day without LTE usage, it lasts four to five hours with it, according to Wired’s review. The Watch also gets “noticeably warm” after a long phone call using the Watch, according to the Journal.

Photo: Apple COO Jeff Williams uses the new cellular capability of Apple Watch Series 3 to make a call. (Courtesy Apple)


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  • dave remote

    Apple should embed a captive portal navigation solution like Devicescape connect

  • Eddie Poe

    Bring back the iPod. Any iPod. Please. Having to shell out $$$ for a Touch when you just want a small player to workout with really sucks.

    As far as the Watch, being the first real new product since the Jobs era, shows that Cook and Co. really need a product guy at the helm…

    Signed, a previous Apple fanboi (typing on my Dell)

  • alrui

    1.4% isnt “tumbled” a-holes!