While the Apple Watch serves as a convenient secondary interface for the smartphone, critics have been disappointed with the its reliance on the iPhone to provide processing power and cellular connectivity, as it slows down watch performance.

Recent reports from the Wall Street Journal, however, suggest Apple is gearing up to make those gripes disappear. According to the WSJ's Daisuke Wakabayashi, Apple may be planning to include a cellular antenna on the next generation of Apple Watches expected to release later this year. This would give users the ability to send messages, make phone calls, get directions and stream music directly from their watch, whether they had their phone nearby or not.

This would not be Apple's first step toward making the Apple Watch more of an independent device than an iPhone accessory. The Cupertino, Calif. company has already told developers that all new Apple Watch apps submitted to the App Store after June 1 of this year must run natively on the watch. This will reduce wait time, as information will not have to be sent back and forth between a user's watch and smartphone for processing.

As necessary as this shift is for Apple to position its wearable device as an independent piece of hardware, it would mean watch owners would have to add yet another data plan to a collection that may already include plans for an iPhone and iPad. However, the benefits for mobile workers that use their watch frequently could far outweigh the additional cost.

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