According to Bloomberg, Apple is developing a new Apple Watch that does not need a Bluetooth connection to an iPhone to function. The Wall Street Journal has confirmed this report.

The report said that Apple has been talking to providers in Europe and the US about making the device available later this year. It began selling the Watch in 2015 but has not released any sales figures to date.

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, recently told investors in a phone call that the Apple Watch is the world’s best-selling smartwatch.

However, Strategy Analytics noted that both San Francisco-based Fitbit and Chinese company Xiaomi have larger shares than Apple of the overall wearables market.

Apple originally marketed the Watch as a luxury item but has recently emphasised its fitness capabilities.

An Apple Watch that is not tethered to an iPhone will have more functionality, including the ability of wearers to download music on the go when they don’t have their smartphones available.

“Apple clearly has big plans for Watch both in the health segment and as a gateway to the connected home,” said Carolina Milanesi, Consumer Tech Analyst at Creative Strategies. “Direct network connection helps in both making sharing data more reliable and faster.”

However, the battery life of the new device will be a concern, as the linked iPhone provides most of the computing power for the current Apple Watch.

Bloomberg reported that Intel will manufacture the modem for the new device.

Apple rivals LG and Samsung launched their own cellular-enabled smartwatches several years ago, but the large size of these devices has hampered their ability to get mainstream popularity.