Report: Apple Watch 2 will be untethered from iPhone

Apple Watch fitness

The days of a Bluetooth link to iPhone may be numbered for Apple Watch. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple may be planning to include cellular connectivity in the next generation Apple Watch. The news comes hot on the heels of a major announcement from Apple, requiring all app submissions to be native apps built using the watchOS 2 SDK. The requirement takes effect on June 1, just weeks ahead of WWDC 2016.

So what does it all mean? An Apple Watch running native apps will be faster, and have access to everything an app has to offer directly on the device. Cellular connectivity would push this concept even further, allowing the Apple Watch to make calls and use cellular data without an iPhone in the vicinity. Along with this freedom may come additional data charges, as carriers are likely to connect the Apple Watch 2 to existing data sharing plans as a new device.

Previous reports point to an Apple Watch 2 launch in the fall, along with the iPhone 7. Rumors and leaks indicate the new watch is likely to have the same design as the original Apple Watch. Upgrades will be internal, focusing on hardware. A faster processor, improved display and other enhancements will help to insure that native apps run more quickly, and the interface is more responsive. Some reports have called this an "S" update, despite expecting new features such as a FaceTime camera.

The WSJ report also cited first-year sales estimates of 12 million for Apple Watch, saying the device sold twice as many units as the original iPhone. In any case, if the Apple Watch 2 is truly untethered from the iPhone later this year, can a watch replace the smartphone as a primary communications device?