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Apple watchOS 4.1 delivers phone-free music streaming

So long as your Apple Watch has an internet connection, of course.
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Jon Fingas/Engadget

For many, the big allure of Apple Watch Series 3 has been the promise of phone-free music streaming on cellular data: you can listen to any song you like while you're out for a run, not just whatever's stored on the watch itself. And now you can see whether or not it lives up to the hype. Apple has released watchOS 4.1, which lets you stream either Apple Music or your iCloud Music Library directly from your wristwear. You'll need a Series 3 watch, of course, but you're no longer tethered to your iPhone if you demand fresh tunes at all times.

The upgrade also includes a dedicated Radio app to stream Apple Music's stations, including Beats 1 (free for everyone) and custom/curated stations (for subscribers). As on iOS 11.1, Siri is smarter about finding and discovering music as well.

And yes, there are plenty of non-music improvements. This is the update that unlocks GymKit syncing -- if you're exercising with a compatible fitness machine, you can sync your watch with it to get the most accurate data set. Have a cellular Series 3 model? You can force the watch to disconnect from WiFi if you don't want to join a network. You'll find fixes for some annoying bugs, too, including missing stand reminders, missing vibrations for silent alarms, unwanted heart rate tracking and even an issue where some original Apple Watches wouldn't always charge. In short: you want this, whether or not you have the latest smartwatch on your wrist.

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