Apple’s Apple Watch Series 3 is expected to be discontinued in September, and the device won’t be updated to run the latest version of watchOS 9 software, which means potential customers should no longer buy the device, according to MacRumors.
The Apple Watch Series 3 was released in September 2017, almost five years ago. It’s the oldest device to support watchOS 8, but its S3 chip lags significantly behind the Apple Watch SE’s S5 chip and the Apple Watch Series 7’s S7 chip in performance. The Apple Watch Series 3 is also the only remaining Apple Watch with an older, thicker design, with large bezels and edges around the display.
Following last year’s iOS 14.6 and watchOS 7.5 updates, Apple Watch Series 3 users must unpair and re-pair the device from their linked iPhone when updating watchOS, as the Apple Watch doesn’t have enough internal storage to complete the update independently.
In June, Apple previewed watchOS 9, the next-generation operating system for the Apple Watch. The new operating system no longer supports the Apple Watch Series 3, which means the device will continue to run “watchOS 8.” Still, the Apple Watch Series 3 is on sale. Apple is expected to discontinue the device when it announces new Apple Watch models at its iPhone 14/Pro launch event next month.
Instead, those looking to buy the entry-level Apple Watch model can look forward to the Apple Watch SE 2. The Apple Watch SE debuted in 2020 as a low-cost option for customers. Nearly two years since its launch, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expect the Apple Watch SE 2 to be released next month alongside the Apple Watch Series 8.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts that the Apple Watch SE 2 may be equipped with an S8 chip. The S8 chip will reportedly have the same specs as the S6 and S7 chips, which may explain why Apple could upgrade the Apple Watch SE 2 to its latest processor. In fact, since all chips newer than the Apple Watch SE processor are effectively the same, there’s no real difference whether it’s an S6, S7, or S8 — all of which offer modest performance gains over the S5 chip.
The new Apple Watch SE 2 may bring some additional features and improvements, and will better support the latest version of watchOS 9.