Monday, 18 November, 2019


China Is Turning Off This Key Feature on Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3 Justin Sullivan Getty
Bennie Garza | 19 October, 2017, 21:04

Apple's struggles in China continue to mount, and this time, it's Apple's newest wearable causing problems for the company.

We were informed by China Unicom that the new cellular feature on the Apple Watch Series 3 has been suspended.

Apple released the Apple Watch Series 3 last month.

When Apple held its big annual product event in September, one of the most prominent updates was the addition of cellular connectivity for the Apple Watch.

The WSJ reports that LTE functionality was available on China Unicom at launch, but new subscriptions were terminated just a few days later. The eSIM is embedded in the watch by Apple, not by carriers. After September 28, however, the feature was turned off to all new subscribers.

On Cupertino's website, "cellular services" are now listed as "coming later this year" to the Series 3 on China Unicom, as well as the country's industry-leading China Mobile carrier and bronze medalist China Telecom.

The Chinese government did not give an explanation to the sudden cut off. Analysts are saying that cut off likely came from the Chinese government security concerns to do with tracking users of the device because the watch uses different technology than standard mobile phones.

On the Apple Watch Series 3 support page, all three of China's major cellular providers (China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom) list LTE service as "coming later this year". The component allows the Apple Watch to connect to carrier networks and send and receive data over those connections.

Shares of United States tech giant Apple were suffering their biggest decline in the last month after Wall Street opened on Thursday amidst reports that the Apple Watch was suffering from service issues in China.

The Chinese regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, didn't respond to requests for comment.

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