While Apple usually upholds a high standard for design and performance across its product range, the Apple Watch Series 3 is the outlier, with a dated design and sluggish performance that’s, at its core, un-Apple.
It baffles me that the Series 3 is still being sold when it was originally released in 2017, and even more so that it retails at £179/$199, a similar price to decent smartwatches like the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro on the Android side of things.
However, the latest development in the Apple Watch Series 3 saga means that regardless of how you feel about the ageing budget-friendly smartwatch, you should avoid it at all costs right now.
The source of this revelation? Apple itself. The company lifted the lid on the upcoming watchOS 9 software update at WWDC 2022, with key features including improved fitness tracking, fully-fledged sleep tracking, an updated notification system and much more.
It’s set to be an exciting update for all Apple Watch owners whether they use their wearables to track fitness or simply check on notifications. All Apple Watch owners apart from the Apple Watch Series 3, that is.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
You see, Apple quietly confirmed that watchOS 9 will drop support for the Apple Watch Series 3, meaning it’ll be stuck with watchOS 8 indefinitely.
While not a shock – it was rumoured months before WWDC – it does mean that Apple is in the particularly odd scenario of selling a product that it knows it’s going to can in a few months’ time when watchOS 9 is released.
After all, Apple won’t sell a smartwatch so slow that it can’t even run the latest OS updates, and whispers suggest there are a plethora of new models of Apple Watch coming later this year.
While not surprising, the only mention of this revelation on the Apple website when trying to buy the Apple Watch Series 3 is in the comparison table at the bottom of the Watch Series 3 webpage, noting that it’s “compatible with watchOS 8 and earlier”, and that’s pretty hard to miss unless you’re actively looking for it. There’s no mention whatsoever on the actual product listing page either.
Lewis Painter / Foundry
Apple customers deserve a clearer heads-up that the smartwatch they’re buying is effectively discontinued from day one – especially when Apple is famed for its multi-year software update promise. It’s partly the reason why Apple’s tech is so premium and how it holds its value for much longer than most alternatives, after all.
So, not only does the Apple Watch Series 3 fall behind the rest of the Apple Watch collection in terms of its ageing design and sluggish performance, but it won’t offer new buyers a single OS update with new features and functionality.
If you’re in the market for a new wearable and the Apple Watch Series 3 does look like a tempting option that’ll fit your budget, I’d recommend simply waiting three months for what I’d imagine will be a refreshed entry-level Apple Watch with a few more years of OS support yet.