Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities wrote in a new report to clients today that Apple Watch Series 3 won’t have any obvious form factor changes from existing models, saying LTE cellular connectivity will be its main selling point.
This is quite different from what Daring Fireball’s well-connected John Gruber heard “from an unconfirmed little birdie,” that Apple Watch Series 3 may introduce an all-new form factor.
However, Gruber later added that his information might be inaccurate.
The new models will come in 38mm and 42mm sizes, presumably to retain compatibility with existing bands. Interestingly, Kuo predicted that cellular versions will only support LTE networks, not 3G ones, probably to save power and improve network latency and performance.
Kuo predicted nine million shipments of new Apple Watch models in 2017, with the cellular model accounting for up to forty percent of shipments. Apple will ship between an estimated 17.5 to 18 million Apple Watch units in total this year, up 70 percent annually.
DigiTimes said today that Apple Watch Series 3 will ship in the fourth quarter.
Bloomberg has somewhat more specific information, saying recently that the device is planned for release by the end of this year. Cellular models of Apple Watch Series 3 will be outfitted with an LTE modem from Intel, allowing users to make and receive phone calls, use iMessage and apps such as Twitter and Instagram without the need for a nearby phone.
Prior reports have alleged that the next Apple Watch would feature improved battery life thanks to a third-generation Apple-designed chip, a micro-LED display technology with a glass-film touch screen and other optimizations.