US carriers have already unofficially announced the pricing of their service for cellular Apple Watch, with AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all charging $10 per month. But digging into Apple’s battery page information for Apple Watch, it seems the true cost of owning a cellular Apple Watch won’t necessarily be the price itself, but rather the toll on battery life. 

More specifically, talk time on LTE will be the real battery killer. Where a non-cellular Apple Watch can get up to three hours of talk time when connected to iPhone, the cellular Apple Watch will only get one hour when connected to LTE.

Workouts done without an iPhone nearby will also hit battery life hard. Where a non-cellular model will get up to five hours of battery during an outdoor workout with GPS, a cellular Apple Watch will only get up to four hours with GPS and LTE on. That’s a 20% difference hit on battery, for those keeping counts.

The big unknown is how long will users be able to stream music to their Apple Watch over LTE. While connected to an iPhone, Apple pegs cellular Apple Watch audio playback at ten hours. We can only assume this will be significantly less if the Apple Watch must stream music over cellular. Real life testings will provide more details when Apple brings Apple Music support to the cellular Apple Watch next month.

Also unknown is what kind of impact location services will have on the cellular model. Specifically, getting directions on your wrists while your iPhone is at home.

I don’t think anyone had high expectations for battery life on a cellular Apple Watch, but these results, coupled with the monthly plan charged by carriers, make me really doubt the value of the device. What do you think?

  • Iskren Donev

    It would be awesome if Apple could make some sort of smart watch band where the band itself is an extra battery for the Watch. This would solve a ton of problems.

  • jacjustjac

    My big issue is that while the iPhone can be charged while you are using it, the Apple Watch can’t be charged while it is worn. So if you are on the go and busy with your watch because you left your phone at home, you’ll still want to bring along some sort of Apple Watch charging solution, like those batteries with a strap so the watch won’t fall off in your bag. Otherwise, when the battery dies you lose your ‘phone’ and your fitness tracker. Might as well bring your phone with you then, even if you leave it in your bag it’s like a battery booster itself.

  • odedo1

    Nobody will be without his phone all day so if you go out for a 20 minutes run let’s say the impact will be very tiny as I see it because the moment you are back next to your iPhone the LTE connection automatically disconnects as I understand and the Watch becomes as it always was.

  • 9to5Slavery

    Would love the Apple page front to compare the watch differences.

    Seems like the iPad 2 of Apple Watch for 1st gen.

  • ProllyWild

    I’ll try to be optimistic. I get way better battery life out of my series 2 compared to the advertised average. I bought a keychain charger for the Apple Watch, and I’ve only ended up using it once. I’m sure one way or another there’s a way to make this LTE version work