Apple Releases Update to Fix Watch Connectivity Issue

By Tripp Mickle Features Dow Jones Newswires

Apple Inc. issued a software update Wednesday that it said addresses some cellular-connectivity issues that have affected its newest smartwatch.

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The update comes two weeks after the company acknowledged some of its new Series 3 model watches -- the first to feature an LTE chip for cellular service -- had trouble connecting to cellular networks because they were trying to join "unauthenticated Wi-Fi wireless networks" in public places such as hotels and coffee shops.

Apple said the new software, version watchOS 4.0.1, fixes the issue "in rare cases" where that occurred.

The company declined to elaborate on how it fixed the problem or why it was occurring. It also didn't say whether the fix resolved all connectivity problems reviewers ran into with the Apple Watch Series 3.

Reviewers at The Wall Street Journal and the Verge last month reported encountering problems making calls, connecting with the Siri virtual assistant and maintaining a cellular connection. The Journal ran into issues across multiple wireless carriers.

Customers haven't complained widely about connectivity issues since the watch went on sale Sept. 22. The risk of other customers encountering those issues could have threatened Apple Watch Series 3 sales, said Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner Inc.

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The problem underscores how important software has become to new devices, he said.

"If connectivity is a core feature, then there's potential cascading effect if it impacts the performance of the device, and there can be perception there are other issues too," Mr. Blau said.

Write to Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 04, 2017 19:02 ET (23:02 GMT)