watchOS 4.1 will bring LTE music and radio streaming to Apple Watch Series 3
The newly released watchOS 4.1 developer beta includes expansions to the Apple Watch's built-in Music app, including the ability to stream songs from Apple Music and iTunes Match via an LTE connection on the new Series 3 hardware.
Apple previously said that LTE music streaming for Apple Watch Series 3 will arrive to the public in October at the earliest. Wednesday's launch of watchOS 4.1 developer beta 1 suggests the feature is on track for launch within the coming weeks.
The release notes accompanying watchOS 4.1 note that the update will allow users to stream any song from Apple Music or the iCloud Music Library, which includes tracks purchased from iTunes and songs matched with iTunes Match.
Apple has said that athletes using music streaming with GPS and Bluetooth headphones can expect about four hours of uptime with Apple Watch Series 3 while running, biking or otherwise outdoors.
In addition, watchOS 4.1 will also include a new Radio app that gives access to Beats 1 live or any Apple Music radio station over LTE. It also works with Siri, letting users request genres to create custom stations on the fly.
However, the release notes for watchOS 4.1 note that the Radio app currently does not support cellular connections. Presumably that issue will be resolved before the software is released to the public.
In addition, the ESPN radio station is said to not operate at all, even when the watch is tethered to a phone or connected to Wi-Fi.
Access to radio stations beyond Beats 1 require a subscription to the Apple Music service, which is available for $9.99 per month for an individual or $14.99 in a family plan. iTunes Match, which costs $24.99 per year per person, does not include radio access.
AppleInsider published its review of the Apple Watch Series 3 earlier Wednesday, and found it to be an excellent device, even before Apple Music and iCloud Music Library streaming are available. However, the device is not meant to be entirely independent of an iPhone, as evidenced by its relatively short battery life when using its own LTE radio.