Apple confirms watchOS 9 won’t be coming to the Apple Watch Series 3
Earlier today, Apple introduced watchOS 9 during its WWDC 22 keynote, including a range of new features such as improved sleep tracking, a new Medications app, and more. If you’re rocking an Apple Watch Series 3, however, you won’t be able to enjoy those new features, because watchOS 9 isn’t coming your way.
In the official announcement for watchOS 9, Apple says the update will be coming to the Apple Watch Series 4 or later, leaving users of the five-year-old Apple Watch model in the cold. This isn’t unexpected, of course, and in fact, a report earlier this year already stated it would happen. Every time Apple introduces new versions of its software, some old devices tend to lose support, and the Apple Watch Series 3 was the oldest device in the family. That means supported devices now include the Apple Watch Series 4, 5, 6, and 7, as well as the Apple Watch SE.
What makes this especially strange is that you can still buy the Apple Watch Series 3 on Apple’s online store. It starts at $199, which is quite a bit of money to spend on a device that’s not going to evolve any further in terms of features. If you’re looking to save some money, you might want to consider the Apple Watch SE instead, which starts at $279.
Originally launched in 2017, the Apple Watch Series 3 received four years of major updates, which is more than most Android smartwatches can claim. It’s actually more than most Android phones can claim to get, so it’s fair to say Apple isn’t cutting off support that early. Some of the new features in watchOS 9 are designed around larger screens, and the Apple Watch Series 3 had the smallest display of the bunch, so some of them may not have worked the best anyway.
Another reason why it might make sense to drop support for the Apple Watch Series 3 is that it’s the only model currently available that still has a 32-bit CPU, so this could facilitate an eventual transition to 64-bit, as we’ve seen on the iPhone itself.
It’s always a bummer to see support being dropped for any device, but if you’re still using an Apple Watch Series 3, you’re probably due for an upgrade anyway. It’s just odd that Apple is still selling it, but presumably, that will change later this year when (and if) a new Apple Watch model is launched.