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article imageApple Watch 3 has connectivity issues just as shipments start

By Ken Hanly     Sep 22, 2017 in Technology
As shipments of Apple's new Series 3 smart watch begin the watch is experiencing difficulties in certain situations with connecting to cellular.
One of the key differences between the Series 3 and earlier models are its built-in cellular capabilities as the iPad and iPhone have. If a Wi-fi network is not available the watch should be able to connect to a cellular network. A reviewer in the Verge reports: "While writing my review of the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE capabilities, I experienced notable connectivity issues. The new Watch appeared to try to connect to unknown WiFi networks instead of connecting to cellular, when I was out and about without my phone. " The reviewer again had problems when he made a second review.
Eventually Apple acknowledged there was a problem and released a statement saying: “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. We are investigating a fix for a future software release.” However, it is not yet known when a new software fix will be released. This is the first time that Apple has acknowledged the existence of a problem after pre-orders and just before it officially ships. Potential buyers of the watch could put off purchases until there is software to fix the problem.
A Time article explains the watches' connectivity problem as follows: In plain language, the Apple Watch 3 seems to be connecting to wireless networks it shouldn't be, which then screws up LTE connectivity, since the Watch 3 is effectively creating a connectivity dead end, then doubling down on it. The ability to shift back and forth between connectivity paths is called a "handoff," and for some reason the Watch 3 can't manage it consistently. The new model 3 watch was celebrated at the recent new iPhone release last week. The new watch is able to send and receive data without a smartphone. However, the device is limited in the amount of talk time and the battery can soon run out as the appended video shows.
Critic Joanna Stern writes of the new watch: "A cellular device is, sometimes literally, a lifeline. That’s why I can’t recommend the cellular Apple Watch Series 3 until the connectivity is more reliable."At $400, the cellular version of the Apple Watch 3 is pricey — $70 more than the non-cellular version. It also requires an extra monthly data fee, in the vicinity of $10 per carrier. If you haven't ordered one yet, it's probably best to hold off, or opt for the non-cellular version, which includes the other Series 3 benefits like a faster processor and barometric altimeter. Not that you'd get a cellular Apple Watch 3 quick anyway: according to the Apple Store, orders for the LTE version are currently backordered 3 to 4 weeks. LTE or Long-Term Evolution is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile devices and data terminals. The new Apple model 3 series smart watches appear to be experiencing a rough launch.
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