watchOS 11 drops support for a record number of Apple Watch models

In the realm of Apple’s tech products, the company has been known for offering extended software support for iPhones, frequently surpassing the five-year commitment. However, when it comes to the Apple Watch, the company has not established a set number of support years and its pattern can be unpredictable.

A surprising development has occurred with the announcement that watchOS 11 will not support the Apple Watch Series 4 (2018), Series 5 (2019), and SE 1 (2020). This marks the first time Apple has dropped support for three Apple Watch models simultaneously. In contrast, in the past, the company had been retiring one to two models every other year, as detailed below:

– watchOS 5 dropped the Apple Watch Series 0.
– watchOS 7 dropped the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2.
– watchOS 9 dropped the Apple Watch Series 3.
– watchOS 11 drops the Apple Watch Series 4, Series 5, and SE 1.

The reason for the simultaneous retirement of the Apple Watch Series 5 and SE 1 is due to their shared S5 chipset. However, this move has highlighted the need for Apple to publicly commit to a minimum number of watchOS support years, a decision that would aid customers in making informed purchasing decisions.

It is worth noting that the Apple Watch Series 6, Series 7, Series 8, Ultra 1, and SE 2 all share the same CPU. Consequently, it is likely that Apple will eventually discontinue all these models at once, with the exact timeline remaining uncertain. The latest Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, which introduce the first processing boost in three years, currently appear to be the only “safe” models to opt for, considering they are least likely to be retired soon.

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