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Apple Watch Series 3: 5 precise reasons why Apple should kill it off once and for all

It doesn't take a "Genius" to understand simple math...(Image source: Apple/edited )
It doesn't take a "Genius" to understand simple math...(Image source: Apple/edited )
Launching back in late 2017, the Apple Watch Series 3 has been at the center of much controversy particularly following the debut of watchOS 7 in fall 2020. For a company renowned for making products that are built to last, planned obsolescence seems to be in play for this vintage wearable.
Article compiled by Brahm Shank
The choices and comments made on this list belong solely to the author.

1. Gross lack of storage

On its website, Apple remains tight-lipped when it comes to disclosing device storage for all models of the Apple Watch. However, a quick look into the Settings app on any Apple Watch model will reveal the device’s total storage by visiting Settings > General > Storage.

The Apple Watch Series 3 models with GPS and cellular connectivity feature only 16 GB of onboard storage while the cheaper GPS-only models sport a measly 8 GB of onboard storage. By contrast, more recent models of the Apple Watch, including the Apple Watch Series 4, feature 16 GB of storage across the board regardless of compatible network connectivity.

Additionally, all models of the Apple Watch that have launched since 2019, including the Series 5, Series 6, Series 7, and the Apple Watch SE, all ship with 32 GB of storage. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch Series 3 features such as small amount of storage that users often run into the issue of not having enough room for software update files even after clearing all media from their device.

For wearers of the GPS Series 3 model, matters are made even worse with less than 4 GB of usable space due to the sheer size of watchOS. The problem has grown so prevalent that Apple published a lengthy support article suggesting that owners of the Apple Watch Series 3 completely reset and restore their wearable before updating to the latest version of watchOS, which could take several hours. 

The Apple Watch Series 3 looks undeniably outdated next to newer Apple products. (Image source: Unsplash)
The Apple Watch Series 3 looks undeniably outdated next to newer Apple products. (Image source: Unsplash)

2. Cramped display

The screen on the Apple Watch Series 3 immediately appears out of place alongside most modern Apple products that feature ultra-thin borders enabling bold edge-to-edge displays.

Its tiny 312x390 pixel display nestled within broad bezels and sharply-defined edges make the Apple Watch Series 3 screen 30% smaller than the Series 4 and a whopping 50% smaller than the latest-gen Series 7.

3. Dated performance

The dual-core Apple S3 SoC powering the Apple Watch Series 3 features a power-hungry design and Bluetooth 4.2, which was outdated even for the time with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X lineup adopting Bluetooth 5 the very same year that the Series 3 debuted (2017).

Couple that inefficiency with the number of charge cycles users can accumulate within its up to five-year lifecycle and battery life is nothing short of a nightmare.

Unlike the Apple Watch Series 3, the iPhone 8 will support the next major version of iOS this year. (Image source: Unsplash)
Unlike the Apple Watch Series 3, the iPhone 8 will support the next major version of iOS this year. (Image source: Unsplash)

4. Lack of software support

While the Apple Watch Series 3 shockingly remains on sale ahead of the public release of watchOS 9 this fall, customers may be surprised to learn that the upcoming version of watchOS is not compatible with the Series 3.

Adorning the very bottom of Apple’s watchOS 9 preview webpage is a subtle message that states “watchOS 9 requires an Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 4 or later paired with iPhone 8 or later with iOS 16”.

Apple has become legendary within the last decade for offering long-lasting device support when it comes to software updates. It seems that the Apple Watch Series 3 is an exception. The practice of selling a product that will become obsolete from a software perspective in a matter of months seems to break conventional Apple doctrine.

However, a more prominent message appears under a dedicated “compatibility” header on the purchase page for the Apple Watch Series 3 that reads “Apple Watch Series 3 is compatible with watchOS 8 and earlier versions”.

5. Deceiving price

At first glance, US$199 for a modern smartwatch seems like an unbeatable deal. A quick deep dive beyond the surface reveals that the Series 3’s specifications are anything but modern.

For just US$80 more, the Apple Watch SE offers an up-to-date design with a screen that is 30% larger, four times more device storage, and a modern S5 SoC that incorporates a more efficient design that delivers notably better battery life according to Apple.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 07 > Apple Watch Series 3: 5 precise reasons why Apple should kill it off once and for all
Brahm Shank, 2022-07-22 (Update: 2022-07-22)