It’s in the name. LTE. That’s like saying our LTE enabled iPads have a hidden fee. Nope. In the name too. Once you add cellular connectivity, guess how the wireless carriers are going to react? Yeah, charge for it. They charge for everything else, so the surprise at a $10 monthly fee is misplaced.
Is $10 per month steep? Depends on your usage. The avid runner who is streaming Apple Music for hours on end? Pretty cheap considering we all have unlimited data plans now. Some of the carriers are already racing to offer incentives.
Verizon and T-Mobile are offering three months free to start. AT&T (my carrier)? Pay up. My response would be I’d take a working cell signal. Sprint hasn’t released its plan, but it seems $10 is the standard. I wonder what the over/under is on T-Mobile just offering it free next year? I’ve never seen a company that relishes in trolling the entire wireless market.
What does it add up too? If you buy the LTE Series 3 Apple Watch, you are paying around $400-ish. Depends on the model you’re getting. Tack on $10 and your cost to have all those damn notifications right to your wrist? A touch over $500.
Where Carriers Can Grab Customers
Which will be the first to offer a payment plan for the latest Apple Watch online? That’s where you lock customers in for a long time. The industry standard of two years could work here, adding payments of $16 (model dependent) to an already ballooning wireless plan.
It has to be tied to your existing wireless number, making you all the more likely to just live under one carrier. No word on how or if low-cost wireless carriers can offer the Apple Watch, but the initial signs aren’t promising.
Apple Watch Series 3 Improvements
The big one was the addition of LTE connectivity. Past that, it bumps in performance, new watch faces and watchOS 4. The latter will be available to older Apple Watches and promises to keep better track of your heart rate. It’s that upgrade that shows the most promise long-term. The Apple Heart study will look at its viability to find undiagnosed heart rate issues such as atrial fibrillation (afib).
That’s the most exciting part of the watch because it lends credence to the idea Apple wants to push into making the Apple Watch more than fitness, but also a medical device. That’s one way to juice sales. Get it covered by health plans.
Preorders for the Apple Watch start September 15 with a ship date of September 22.