Apple may finally discontinue the Apple Watch Series 3 when it reaches five years of age in the third quarter of 2022, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
In a tweet, Kuo said that the Apple Watch Series 3 may reach the end of its life in the third quarter of 2022 because its computing power will not be able to meet the requirements of a new version of watchOS.
The Apple Watch Series 3 was released in September 2017, making it almost five years old. It is the oldest device to support the latest version of watchOS 8, but its S3 chip significantly lags behind the Apple Watch SE‘s S5 chip and Apple Watch Series 7‘s S7 chip in terms of performance. The Apple Watch Series 3 is also the only remaining Apple Watch to feature the older, thicker Apple Watch design with large bezels and angular corners around the display.
Following the iOS 14.6 and watchOS 7.5 updates last year, Apple Watch Series 3 users have to unpair and re-pair the device from its linked iPhone when updating watchOS because the Apple Watch does not have enough internal storage to complete an update independently.
At WWDC later this year, Apple is expected to unveil watchOS 9, which according to Kuo could finally drop support for the Series 3. watchOS 9 would therefore only be available for the Apple Watch Series 4 from 2018 or newer. While the unveiling of major new versions of Apple’s operating systems usually takes place in early June, the updates themselves are not typically released to the public until the fall, which would coincide with Kuo’s proposed timeframe and the launch of new Apple Watch models.
Little is currently known about what watchOS 9 may offer, but the second-generation Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Series 8 are expected to launch later this year, potentially including additional health features such as a body temperature sensor, faster chipsets, enhanced activity tracking, and an all-new “rugged” model.
Given the Apple Watch Series 3’s age, design, S3 chip, limited storage space, and the extra step required to install software updates, it seems inevitable that Apple will discontinue it sooner rather than later, likely when new Apple Watch models are released later this year. Apple is still selling the Apple Watch Series 3 as a low-cost option for $199, but we do not recommend purchasing it over a $279 Apple Watch SE for these reasons.