At WWDC 2022, Apple confirmed that the Apple Watch Series 3 wouldn’t support watchOS 9. Ever since then, the writing’s been on the wall. And now, it’s official: Apple has finally, finally removed the Series 3 from its online store.
It’s an understatement to say this was a long time coming. Smartwatch hardware generally starts to struggle after about three years, and the Series 3 first launched five years ago in 2017. At the time, it was the first Apple Watch to support LTE connectivity — a massive achievement at a time when few smartwatches were capable of making calls directly from the wrist. When the Series 4 was launched a year later, it remained in the lineup as a cheaper entry-level watch at $199. That’s also how much it cost right up until Apple removed it from the store.
It was a shrewd decision on Apple’s part. For folks who’d never owned a smartwatch before, dropping $400 on the flagship could be unnerving. The discounted Series 3 was potentially a “safer” alternative. But the decision to keep the Series 3 made less and less sense as time went on — particularly after Apple introduced the Apple Watch SE in 2020. Not only that, several Series 3 owners reported issues updating the aging smartwatch to both watchOS 7 and watchOS 8.
Now, with the introduction of a new Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Ultra, there’s simply no good reason to buy a new Series 3. The SE is the new entry-level watch, while the Series 8 replaces it as the “regular” or “midtier” option. The Ultra now sits atop the lineup as the premium model. Technically, Apple should have retired the Series 3 as soon as WWDC was over, but them’s the breaks.
If you happen to be a Series 3 owner, now might be a good time to consider upgrading. It’s time.