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How Apple could make smartwatches more popular, and potentially help Fitbit

The smartwatch could become an important and popular device in the next few years, thanks to a change that Apple Inc. is rumored to make very soon.

Benchmark analysts said Tuesday that consumers will rally to smartwatches once companies “uncouple” the devices from smartphones. That move would allow the watch to operate its own communications, while also keeping track of users’ fitness and allowing them to purchase items, among other tasks that now require a smartphone.

The ability for smartwatches to operate without a phone appears to be coming, Benchmark analysts say, citing rumors that Apple Inc.’s AAPL, +1.63%upcoming watch will have its own cellular modem chip, as well as Huawei’s reveal of a smartwatch that has its own 4G connectivity.

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