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Report: Apple plans cellular-capable smartwatch release by 2017-end

Apple Inc. plans to release at least some LTE-equipped smartwatch models that can connect directly to cellular networks by the end of 2017, Bloomberg News reported, citing "people familiar with the matter."

The current version of Apple Watch operates by pairing wirelessly with an iPhone. However, the new technology will allow several tasks to be performed without an iPhone in range, the report noted.

Intel Corp. will supply the LTE modems for the new watch, "another person familiar with the situation" told Bloomberg.

Apple is in talks with carriers in the U.S. and Europe to offer the cellular version of Apple Watch. While the group of carriers supporting the new version, at least at launch, may be smaller than that carrying the iPhone, AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. plan to sell the device, Bloomberg reported, citing "other people familiar with the matter."

The launch of the new technology was delayed in 2016, and could still be postponed beyond 2017, the report noted.