It looks like Apple’s smartwatch could soon break free of its dependence on the iPhone.
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is developing a version of its Apple Watch that will come with LTE-capable chips from Intel built in. The move means the smartwatch, which has previously required a connection to a nearby iPhone, will be able to independently connect to the network and allow users to complete tasks like using apps and downloading new songs, Bloomberg indicated.
Though Qualcomm has historically been the primary supplier for iPhone chips, Apple added Intel as a supplier last year. The reported decision to use Intel to supply the Watch modems comes amid a fierce spat between Qualcomm and Apple over the former’s patent licensing practices. The latest on that can be found here.
Bloomberg notes Apple is already discussing the LTE Watch debut with wireless carriers in the United States and Europe. All four of the major stateside carriers are planning to carry the device, according to the report.
The next piece in the puzzle will be cost.
T-Mobile currently allows T-Mobile One customers to add a wearable line for $10 per month, though speeds for wearables are limited to 512 kbps. For the LTE-enabled Samsung Gear S3, Verizon and AT&T currently requires customers to activate a new line on one of their cellular data plans.
It seems fair to assume the carriers would treat an LTE-capable Apple Watch similarly to the Gear S3, but aggressive promotions wouldn’t be out of the question – especially if the device comes out alongside the iPhone ahead of the fourth quarter holiday season.