Apple holds secret meetings with Aetna to discuss health insurance Watch perks

The next version of the Apple Watch could be a game changer

Apple and Aetna are in the midst of discussions to provide an Apple Watch to millions of the insurance provider's customers, according to reports. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Watch isn't such a dud after all.

Aetna is likely to offer a free or discounted Apple Watch to all eligible customers as a perk, CNBC reported. The company made the Apple Watch available to some of its large employers and individual members during open enrollment season, subsidizing part of the cost.

That being said it's safe to assume that the new Apple Watch will be released alongside the new iPhones next month.

Given that the current Apple Watch Series 2 has just a 273 mAh or 334 mAh battery (depending on the case size), we sure hope that Apple has found a way to boost battery capacity. If this deal does happen, it's going to bring about a major surge in Apple Watch sales as Aetna will actively begin offering the wearable device as an incentive to its over 23 million customers across the country. The new Watch will not replace the iPhone, but it will be able to act as a phone in instances where the iPhone isn't present, like during workouts. The device, which for now is dubbed "Series 3", is expected to have an LTE chip. The watch also features a heart monitor and 12 indoor and outdoor workout modes. However, before any of these features can go into the watch, experts say that getting regulatory approval will be a big task, notes Fortune. The rumored news comes from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has reliably predicted Apple trends in the past.

Kuo predicts that Apple will ship 17.5 million to 18 million watches this year, with 8-9 million of these being new models. Kuo expects fewer than half to be LTE, however, at 35-40 per cent of those units.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber also indicated that he heard the watch might offer a different form factor. Bloomberg's report adds that the LTE modems will be provided by Intel.

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