Apple reportedly admitted Wednesday that its newly-introduced smartwatch has technical issues, just days before the device is available to purchase.
The tech conglomerate said that the Apple Watch Series 3 seems to struggle with its cellular connectivity capabilities, according to The Wall Street Journal, perhaps the most important feature and selling point.
Apple presented the advanced “wearable” technology — along with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, among others — during a special product unveiling event Sept. 12. Online preordering for the product has been open since Sept. 15, and shipping starts Friday, but sales may take a dip if Apple can’t prove the device’s consistent ability to operate separately from an iPhone or a Wi-Fi connection — a function supposed to be enabled by the additional embedment of an LTE chip.
“We believe the addition of cellular will transform the way people use Apple Watch, providing a new sense of freedom since they can stay connected with or without their iPhone,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, said on a company blog post published the day of the most recent presentation. “Apple Watch Series 3 combined with the power of watchOS 4 is the ultimate device for a healthy life.”
Apple reportedly says it is “investigating a fix for a future software release,” leaving any potential solutions, as well as the timeframe of their potential accessibility, up in the air.
The tech giant provided TheWSJ with the statement after the publication, as well as the tech outlet The Verge, wrote reviews detailing the problems they faced while using the smartwatch. Outlets like The New York Times and USA Today also conducted reviews, but did not enumerate the technical difficulties outlined by the other media organizations.
While Apple doesn’t reveal its sales for the devices, its smartwatch line makes up a relatively smaller portion of the company’s total revenue, since two-thirds come from iPhones, TheWSJ reports.
Nevertheless, smartwatches are still in demand. Apple and Aetna allegedly met in secrecy in August to discuss the prospect of giving all customers of the massive health insurance provider one of the tech company’s smart watches. Aetna already offers the Apple Watch to its thousands of employees in what is called a corporate wellness program, but now it may want to extend the technology to the roughly 23 million people it insures. (RELATED: UK Gov’t Bans Apple Watches During Meetings Due To Fear Over Russia Hacking)
Apple Watch, like a lot of wearable technologies, is advertised for its fitness tracking and health-monitoring capabilities. Fitbit, the eponymous company that sells activity trackers with wireless capabilities, has been selling its products not just for personal use, but for wide-scale institutional utilization. A Fitbit representative told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Fitbit’s technology is being used in more than 200 clinical research studies at prestigious places such as Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic, and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, to name a few.
Apple Watch, though, somewhat recently overtook Fitbit’s hold on the top spot in wearables, CNBC reports. Fitbit device shipments in the first quarter of 2016 fell 35 percent from the year before, while Apple’s distribution of its product increased by 1.3 million to a total of 3.5 million.
Apple will need to overcome any ostensible problems with its cellular network connectivity if it wants to ensure and maintain a high market share.
Apple did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by time of publication.
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