By now, any Apple fan knows that a new device ends up passing on Dr. iFixit’s operating table . The well-known page of repair guides and toolkits has been made with an Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE and disassembled it, just as it happened to the iPhone 8 a few days ago. Let’s see what Apple has done with its smartwatch this generation.
A new generation with minimal changes
The Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, from a hardware point of view, seems a slight evolution. At least, that’s the feeling you get after reading the iFixit diagnostic. Starting from the outside in, the changes aren’t too much.
The display of the new clock is identical to that of the Series 2 , or what is the same, an OLED panel of 290 or 302 density depending on the model and the 1000 nits brightness. The water resistance is maintained at a depth of 50 meters, after which water must be expelled from the speaker at the push of a button.
The Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE is very similar to the previous generation
Where the improvements start is in communications. When we lifted the screen, we found the UMTS LTE antenna that Apple confirmed in the keynote. Placed around the frame of the screen, the company manages to avoid the redistribution of internal components as well as the loss of the much sought after space within this device.
The bluetooth connection has been upgraded from 4.0 to 4.2 , which is a small but welcome improvement. Of course, the system in a chip called S3 is an even more efficient evolution of the predecessor. Thanks to this improvement, the system is faster, more fluid and for the first time we can hear Siri talking to us from the wrist.
This is all very good. However, the real change in this generation is that Apple has managed to add LTE connection without having to increase the weight or dimensions of the device.
LTE connectivity in an (almost) identical device
The picture shows the LTE chip radio surrounding the screen frame (orange band).
Shortly before the presentation of the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, we were talking about the challenge of introducing cellular connectivity. The aspects we highlighted as critical were range, thickness, weight and heat . About the first one, we know from iFixit that the battery has been increased by 4% with respect to the Series 2, or 32% if we compare it with the original Watch.
So not only has it not been reduced, but Apple has been able to increase it slightly, while ensuring a mixed use of 14 hours without LTE and another 4 with daily LTE. In terms of thickness, the Series 3 maintains the thickness except for the slight growth of the heart sensor on the back of the watch. As Jeff Williams said during the presentation, this increase meant two extra thick sheets of paper.
Despite the changes, Apple has been able to increase the battery size by 4%
¿Qué Apple Watch comprarse? Así queda la gama tras la presentación del Apple Watch Series 3.
What about the weight? Looking at the Apple specification page, the 42mm Series 3 without LTE weighs 32.3 grams, compared to 34.9 grams for the model with LTE radio. That’s 2.6 grams, or 8% of the device’s total weight. The weight is especially striking when you consider that the Samsung Gear S3 Classic with LTE connection weighs 57 grams , also without a strap.
You don’t have to be an engineer to see that what Apple has done here is an important milestone. The company has added an LTE radio to the Apple Watch without adding any thickness or weight to the device. This is two essential points in the design of a wearable. But perhaps even more impressive is the fact that both the 38mm model and the 42mm model have this connection.
In other words, Apple has not reserved cellular connectivity for the larger model. That would have been the easy part . I still think that one of his great successes is to have a smaller model, adapted to those who have smaller wrists or simply want a more contained watch.