An Apple analyst that has a reasonably accurate track record for projecting the company’s next moves has a prediction for the next Apple Watch.
In a note to investors this week, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that while the next Apple Watch could come with LTE (long-term evolution) connectivity, it might not come with the ability for users to place calls from the device. The LTE connection would be used solely for the transfer of data over the cellular network, Kuo said, according to Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac, which earlier obtained a copy of his note.
Over the last couple of weeks, some reports have surfaced, suggesting Apple (AAPL) would bring cellular connectivity to the Apple Watch. Since its release in 2015, Apple Watch has required owners to tether the device to the iPhone to use data. Apple Watch owners can also place and answer calls from the device, but need that call to be routed through the iPhone to work.
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Some Apple fans had hoped that adding an LTE connection could change that. With LTE, owners could leave their iPhones at home and connect to cellular networks directly from the smartwatch. Some market watchers had speculated that the feature meant calling would be available, as well.
According to 9to5Mac, Kuo said that bundling the LTE chip in Apple Watch would be enough to get calling to work. However, Apple will artificially disable the feature so it can be used solely for data transfers and not placing calls, Kuo claims.
For its part, Apple hasn’t commented on plans for a future Apple Watch update, and likely won’t until it’s ready to make its announcement. However, Apple is expected to announce a new smartwatch sometime this year and could offer both an LTE version and another without the connection. Apple isn’t expected to make any design changes to its smartwatch this year.