Apple has done a lot to converge technologies, and this year they’ve finally brought LTE to your wrist with the Apple Watch Series 3. Usually when Apple drops a new feature into a device, the hardware is a little wonky at first (see: Touch ID, metal frames, and even wireless charging) but they smooth it out. In a weird twist of tech, this Apple Watch added features without really changing… at all. So much so that we’re tempted to speculate that the Watch hardware has been LTE-ready for a generation already. The antennas and display haven’t changed much, and there’s some new silicon, but that’s about it.

In another twist, this watch now comes with a barometric sensor. The thing is… the Series 2 had a barometer too. So this “brand new” hardware existed in the prior generation, albeit in a different location. Was the Series 2 almost an LTE watch? Or did Apple just want to sell a few more watches before Christmas? The world wonders.

Apple Watch Series 3 Teardown Highlights:

  • Apple touted a new barometric altimeter when it introduced the Series 3—much to our confusion, since we’d found a barometer in last year’s model. This time, the sensor seems to live in the watch case beside the microphone.
  • The Series 3 battery packs in 1.07 Whr (279 mAh at 3.82 V)—nearly a 4% increase from the 1.03 Whr battery we found in the Series 2, which itself was a whopping 32% increase over the original Apple Watch’s 0.78 Whr cell.
  • After an entirely Series 2-ish experience, we’re finally rewarded with something new—a whole new section of RF chips, surely responsible for handling the added LTE functionality.
  • Due to incredibly minute and fragile components, the Apple Watch inherits its predecessor’s 6-out-of-10 repairability score, earning points for feasible screen and battery replacements.

This is just our review of the teardown. Check out the full Apple Watch Series 3 teardown on iFixit.com.

Samantha Lionheart is a content curator and guide photo guru at iFixit. She enjoys tea, cats, and thinking too much about movies.

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