Apple Watch Series 3 FAQ: Everything you need to know!

Apple Watch
Apple Watch (Image credit: iMore)

At the Sept. 12 Apple press event, the company unveiled the next generation Apple Watch. The changes are big and they're on their way to a wrist near you. Here's everything you need to know!

So there's two different Apple Watches now?

Yes. Apple unveiled not one, but two new Watches to the lineup. The first is a more standard version of the Apple Watch with updated hardware and GPS. The second is a stand-alone Apple Watch with cellular support.

That's right: You'll be able to perform some additional functions with the Apple Watch Cellular that you can't with the standard Apple Watch, like make and receive phone calls, stream Apple Music, and a lot more.

What does the cellular model do?

The cellular Apple Watch uses what's called an eSIM card - a card that's one-hundredth the size of an original SIM - and it works great to allow data transfer over the air. Apple specifically mentioned that you will be able to do the following with the new model:

  • You can make and receive a call using the same # as your iPhone
  • You can receive SMS messages without your iPhone
  • You can use the Maps app for directions without your iPhone
  • Find my friend switches to your Apple Watch when you don't have your phone
  • Chat apps like WeChat and Snapchat work without your iPhone
  • You can stream Apple Music on your wrist without your iPhone
  • Siri can now talk

Additionally, both Series 3 models will include a Barometric altimeter for tracking elevation for such activities as skiing and snowboarding.

Some information we've received is that certain carriers will allow you to receive SMS messages on your Apple Watch Series 3 without your iPhone, but won't let you send them. We're looking into this.

You'll be able to add cellular service to your Apple Watch from the following internet providers in the US:

  • ATT - $10 with your current iPhone plan
  • Sprint - Unknown at this time
  • T-Mobile - $10 with your current iPhone plan
  • Verizon - $10 with your current iPhone plan

Both the GPS and cellular models of the Series 3 will also be available in other countries, and you can check out Apple's full international carrier list here.

What's changed in the shape and size of the Series 3?

Nothing! The shape and size of the Series 3 is the same as the Series 2. There is a new color, however - in addition to space gray and silver, the Series 3 comes in a new aluminum gold.

Both models have the W2 processor chip that helps with both speed and battery consumption. The dual-core processor is 70% faster than the Series 2.

It still gets the same battery life, even though the cellular model uses more juice.

So, it's faster? Has a longer battery life?

Yes to both. The W2 chip puts some speed and longevity improvements under the hood of the Series 3. The cellular model still gets the same speed and battery life as the standard version.

Will the Series 3 and Cellular models fit my current Apple Watch bands?

Thank goodness, they will (I can hear Rene Ritchie's sigh of relief right now). The smart connection for the bands remains the same. 38mm and 42mm bands will continue to fit on their respective casings, whatever series you have (including Series 0).

Is there a special edition version?

Apple didn't come out with a brand new Edition but did add a fancy new color to the current ceramic color. It's called gray, but it's more like the space gray Apple colors (almost black).

How much is this beauty going to hurt my wallet?

The standard Series 3 Apple Watch has dropped in price by about $40 and now starts at $329. The Cellular model starts at $399. Apple will continue to sell the Series 1 Apple Watch at a new lower price of $249.

When can I get it wrapped around my wrist?

You can preorder the Apple Watch Series 3 standard and Cellular on September 15. The cellular model will be available in stores starting September 22 in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Puerto Rico, Switzerland and the UK. The standard GPS model will be available on the same date in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, the US and US Virgin Islands; and then on September 23 in UAE.

What about the Series 1 and 2? Can I still get one?

Apple is keeping the Series 1 in the lineup as the low-cost entry-level Apple Watch. Because it doesn't include GPS tracking or "swim proof" water resistance of up to 50 meters, Apple can keep the price to just $249. The Series 1 is only available with the aluminum case and Sport band.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about the Apple Watch Series 3 and LTE? Put them in the comments and we'll fill you in as we find out more.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).