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Mobe reception grief turns LTE Apple Watch 3 into – er, a dull watch

Plus: You can't switch off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on iOS 11

The new LTE-enabled Apple Watch 3 appears to suffer from a bug that can keep the touch-screen wearable from connecting to cellular data networks.

Multiple reviews of the still-unreleased device have found that when wearing it without its paired iPhone, the Apple Watch constantly tries to connect to nearby Wi-Fi networks, rather than activate the LTE data connection.

As a result, the reviews say, the Watch is often left connected to an unknown network that has no connectivity. Apple did not respond to a Reg request for comment on the matter (possibly because of this, this or this), but has told other journalists it is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. It's understood the Watch 3 series will use a mix of Qualcomm and Intel cellular modems, just like its phones.

Meanwhile, the first batch of Apple watches is already on its way to retailers and pre-order customers. The Watch 3 is set to go on sale (and be delivered by mail) this Friday, September 22. The firmware update, watchOS 4, was released Tuesday.

Though it was overshadowed by the iPhone X at this month's special event in Cupertino, the Apple Watch is being hailed as a major update to the smartwatch line, in large part because of its LTE connectivity capabilities. Other upgrades include a new system-on-chip processor and extended health tracking capabilities (including improved heart rate monitors).

The Watch 3 will go on sale the same day (September 22) as the event's other undercard item, the new iPhone 8 series. The $1,000 iPhone X, meanwhile, isn't due to hit the shelves until next month.

While Apple doesn't give exact sales figures for the Watch, research firm Strategy Analytics estimates the Watch itself accounts for 13 per cent of the overall wearables market.

Finally, if you've upgraded your iThing to iOS 11 beware that even if you switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi from your device's control panel, they are both still active in the background potentially draining your battery – unless you dig into the settings to truly disable them. Apple keeps this radio comms alive, even when disabled via the Control Center, so its gadgets can sync with Watches and shift files over AirDrop. ®

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