The Apple Watch uses the Internet for a lot of things : Siri answers, sending messages...
But how is the Apple Watch connected to the Internet ?
I have searched a bit, to no avail. This information must be too technical. ;-)
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From the "Apple Watch User Guide"
Apple Watch uses Bluetooth® wireless technology to connect to its paired iPhone and uses the iPhone for many wireless functions. Apple Watch can’t configure new Wi-Fi networks on its own, but it can connect to Wi-Fi networks you’ve set up on the paired iPhone.
If your Apple Watch and iPhone are on the same network but aren’t connected by Bluetooth, you can also do the following on Apple Watch without iPhone:
- Send and receive messages using iMessage
- Send and receive Digital Touch messages
- Use Siri
The watch is using the Wi-Fi settings from you paired iPhone to access the internet. As stated above it can connect to networks you have set on the iPhone. The Bluetooth will connect to the phone and pass data back and forth.
Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.
Though this doesn't precisely answer your question, it seems likely that the requirement for an iPhone indicates that the watch will only connect to the internet through the phone.
Your Apple Watch uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to communicate with your paired >iPhone, switching between connections as needed:
- Your Apple Watch uses Bluetooth when your iPhone is near, which conserves power.
- If Bluetooth isn’t available, Apple Watch will try to use Wi-Fi. For example, if compatible Wi-Fi is available and your iPhone isn't in Bluetooth range, Apple Watch uses Wi-Fi.
On this page you also can find information about the Compatible-Devices and how to check the Network on your Apple Watch.
Conclusion: The Apple Watch power is limited by it's battery, so Apple uses Bluetooth only, if the iPhone is in range, because Bluetooth4.0 is Low Energy. If you are (e.g) on the toilet and your iPhone in the living room, the Apple Watch uses your WiFi (if present) and also is able to communicate with you Phone over WiFi.
First original answer by me. no specs where published by Apple at this time:
All signs pointing out that Apple Watch is connected via Bluetooth to your iPhone (5/5c/5s/6/6+) is required. Bluetooth, because the amount of Data isn't really high.
This article Apple Watch Likely Uses BCM4334 Broadcom Wi-Fi Chip shows the Apple Watch supports both Bluetooth and Wi-fi but only uses them to connect to the iPhone.
I own an Apple Watch, and it prefers using a direct connection to its paired iPhone for Internet functions (ie., Bluetooth tether) when the iPhone is in range (due to lower power consumption than Wifi). However, the Apple Watch is capable of certain supported functions via direct Wifi connection to known networks (ie., previously used networks) like iMessage, Wifi calling if it's been setup on the paired iPhone, Siri queries, if the iPhone is out of Bluetooth range or turned off. This creates a unique problem in that when the Apple Watch is barely within Bluetooth range, Wifi call quality is extremely poor (and worse than via direct Wifi calling). I wish there was a way to change connection priority or tell it to use Wifi when Bluetooth strength is low. But I guess that's more user configurability than Apple typically allows.