Apple’s new Series 3 smartwatch starts shipping this Friday, and the biggest feature change between last year’s model and this new Watch is that it has built-in cellular capabilities.
Except, that cell service isn’t entirely reliable.
While writing my review of the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE capabilities, I experienced notable connectivity issues. The new Watch appeared to try to connect to unknown WiFi networks instead of connecting to cellular, when I was out and about without my phone. (The issues are laid out in much more detail in the review.)
Within the first couple days of experiencing this, Apple replaced my first review unit with a second one, but that one proved to be problematic, too.
Eventually, the company issued an official statement, acknowledging the issue. “We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular,” an Apple spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We are investigating a fix for a future software release.”
Unfortunately, we still don’t know when that software release is expected, or exactly how it will fix the issue of the Watch connecting to cellular networks when it’s supposed to.
But as far as Apple Watch releases go, this marks the first time that Apple has acknowledged a known problem with the smartwatch just after pre-orders, and right before it officially ships.