Apple’s cellular version of the Apple Watch 3 is having connectivity problems, which may hurt sales a couple of days before it becomes available.
According to a report published in The Wall Street Journal, Apple said in a statement that there is a problem connecting the Watch 3 to cellular networks. This version of the Apple wearable is the first to have a built-in LTE chip enabling it to make calls. In the statement, the company said the problem occurs when joining “unauthenticated Wi-Fi wireless networks without connectivity.”
Apple also said it is “investigating a fix for a future software release.”
The company was prompted to release the statement after reviewers from the WSJ and the Verge faced problems trying to make phone calls, connect to Apple’s virtual assistant Siri and keeping a cellular network connection. The WSJ reported it had faced issues across various wireless carriers, though reviewers from other sources including the New York Times and USA Today had not reported similar issues.
The issue could be a big blow to Apple given Wall Street has largely been excited about the Watch 3 with cellular connectivity. The Apple Watch Series 3 goes on sale on Friday (Sept. 22) and bears a price tag of $399, though it has been available for pre-order since Sept. 15.
When Apple announced the Watch 3 last week, the largely pre-forecast announcement about the third iteration of the Apple Watch was that it now comes loaded with its own cellular service and is no longer dependent on an iPhone to operate. Users can receive calls, pay with Apple Pay, access maps and even chat up Siri, all without needing to be connected by Bluetooth to the phone, though it does seem the Watch has an enhanced functionality when attuned to a phone. The cellular service will piggyback on a user’s phone number, and providers will likely charge an additional fee.
Consumers can still opt to purchase a Bluetooth-enabled watch for $329 instead of the $399 price point for the cellular version. The cellular Apple Watch 3 will also double as a music streaming device, giving users access to the 40 million-plus songs in Apple’s music catalog. Additionally, the LTE Watch also sports a slightly enhanced battery life of 18 hours.