Apple Watch Series 3 won't get watchOS 9 – and that's problematic

We need to talk about the Series 3
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In yesterday’s watchOS 9 was an interesting aside – the Apple Watch Series 3 won’t be getting the upgrade.

Launched in 2017, Apple has kept the Series 3 available way beyond the usual lifespan of an Apple Watch – offering shoppers cut-price way of getting people into the Apple Watch cult. Priced at $199/£179, it’s almost half the price of a new Series 7.

But it’s certainly showing its age. The boxy first-gen screen design, the dated display with acres of black bezel, and the lack of some key features due to dated hardware all make for a smartwatch that's now hard to recommend.

So ulittle surprise that watchOS 9 won’t support the Series 3, that originally ran watchOS 4 when it launched in 2017.

What is surprising is that the Apple Watch Series 3 is still on sale on the Apple Store – and still at its standard price.

That someone could buy it and not get the latest software enhancements doesn’t seem right. Yes, it offers plenty of features for the money – but there are excellent Apple Watch alternatives for plenty less money.

Although it still has good reasons to buy on paper, at Wareable we’ve been removing the Series 3 from recommended buying guides in recent months – and just slashed it from our best affordable smartwatch round up.

We have felt the experience of using the Series 3 was hard to justify with excellent budget alternatives.

And the announcement that it won’t support the latest software justifies that decision.

We will likely have to wait until September to find out Apple’s plans for its smartwatch range. We’re expecting a new Apple Watch SE 2 – so perhaps the original will replace the Series 3. Or perhaps the Series 3 will just soldier on, in an increasingly caveated stay of execution. Or maybe we’ll see something new, cheap and fun.

But if you hear of anyone planning to buy a Series 3 in the next few months, tell them Wareable said no.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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