New Zealand misses out on Apple Watch connectivity

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The Apple Watch Series 3 goes on sale on Friday but New Zealanders won’t be able to take advantage of arguably its most exciting feature – cellular capability. Both Apple and the carriers spoken to by The Foresyte Report today say that the Series 3 watch on sale here on Friday will not be LTE-enabled.

Spark says it will have the Apple Watch Series 3 (bluetooth version) on Friday online and in stores. Vodafone says it has nothing to “share on your wearables query at this point in time”. And 2degrees doesn’t sell Apple watches and has no immediate plans for the Series 3.

The advantage of a connected device is that users can take phone calls, ask Apple’s voice assistant Siri a question and stream music on their watch without requiring their iPhone to be within blue tooth range. Apple’s advertisement explains the concept the best.

The ability to leave your phone at home and be able to take phone calls, download music and access the internet via Siri may appeal to the health and fitness market today – but what it signals for the future is where true interest lies. As tech commentator Ben Thompson on his website Stratechery points out, Apple may be preparing for the time when you may not need your iPhone at all.

Apple is clearly ahead of the competition, in large part thanks to its chip expertise… and yet to be out and about without your iPhone dramatically increases the importance of Siri; being the primary input is a lot different than being a secondary one. Still, Apple has time: the company is wisely positioning cellular capability as an enhancement to the Watch’s health and fitness capabilities, not as an iPhone replacement; that clock is just now getting started.”

So what can New Zealanders interested in the Apple Watch Series 3 expect? The device boasts built-in GPS and an “altimeter that tracks elevation during your hilliest rides and highest climbs”. But if you don’t want to carry your iPhone in your pocket when out for a cycle or run, you will have to wait to you get home to download the stats.

The list of countries in which the Apple Series 3 watch is enabled includes Australia, through the carriers Telstra and Optus – the full list is here.

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