The 'cheap' Apple Watch 3 might not be long for this world

Apple Watch 3
(Image credit: Future)

The Apple Watch 3 is almost five years old now - if it were a child, it'd be in school right now. Yet Apple still supports the device, selling the aging smartwatch from its website alongside accessories and straps for it. But nothing lasts forever.

A prominent leaker and analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, has tweeted to say that "Apple Watch Series 3 may go to end-of-life in Q322" - that's July to September. The reason is apparently that the antique wearable "can't meet the requirements" of the next build of watchOS that Apple is expected to create.

While that only suggests the Apple Watch 3 won't get watchOS 9, Apple never sells products that it doesn't support with software, so we'd almost definitely see the smartwatch discontinued too.

This time scale suggests that this shift could happen in late September, when we're expecting to see the Apple Watch 8 (as well as the iPhone 14), as that's generally when new versions of Apple software get released for download. Apple also tends to discontinue older devices when it announces new ones.

See more

Analysis: an Apple reshuffle

The Apple Watch 3 has remained on sale for years as Apple's most affordable smartwatch, a device that misses out on the top-end features of the Watch 7, or even the middling offerings of the Watch SE, but at a much lower price.

We've been hearing that an Apple Watch SE 2 might be coming soon, but that'd likely be a mid-range device too - so if the Watch 3 does bite the dust, there might not be a truly affordable smartwatch from the company. That is, unless the current Watch SE gets a price shift.

So do we believe Kuo? Well, they have a fantastic track record, and it is curious that Apple still supports the Watch 3. We'll wait for official confirmation to be totally sure, but it seems fairly likely that the Apple Watch 3's days are numbered.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.