During Apple’s annual deluge of hardware announcements, one of the biggest reveals was the Apple Watch Series 5, a device that seems more impactful than it is. While it’s typical for Apple to release a new version of its smartwatch every year, the incoming Apple Watch Series 5 brings with it surprise, and some confusion, especially for Series 4 users.
The Apple Watch Series 4 was a huge step up from Series 3, with a host of new features that made the S4 feel like a much more capable smartwatch. The biggest change then was a new form factor, with an increase to the size of the screen and slimmer profile of the device. The Series 4 was also the first Apple Watch marketed as a medical device with additional functionality added to the heartbeat monitor, and a new sensor that can provide ECG/EKGs, introduced under the auspices of the FDA.
With all the new features, the Apple Watch Series 4 definitely seemed to have more longevity than the Series 3, which as of writing this, is reaching almost two years of life. Curiously enough, however, the Apple Watch Series 3 remains in Apple’s lineup, now starting at $199 (the Series 5 starts at $399), and the Series 4 is MIA.
All mention of the Series 4 appears to have been scrubbed from Apple’s website. Not only that, even apple.com search results that reference the Series 4 redirect to the new homepage for the Series 5. Another clue that Apple has discontinued the Series 4: the “Compare” page for Apple Watch models only includes two columns; one for the Series 5 and another for the Series 3. Considering Apple announced the Series 4 as wearable tech that “can change the way you live each day”, this kind of send-off is disheartening to those who invested in it.
The investment on Series 4 doesn’t cash out for day 1 users or people who picked it up on a good deal after the buzz died down. Also the Apple Watch Series 5 doesn’t seem like the leap that S4 was, in any respect. Just look at the features touted: an always-on display, a compass, and international emergency calling. To many, these features, while useful, just don’t warrant an upgrade, especially if they just got the S4. Perhaps they could’ve forgone S4 as a separate release entirely, opting to skip a yearly iteration of Apple Watch in order to put these small quality of life improvements in.
Apple responded to our inquiry regarding the future of the Series 4 and it looks like it’ll be going the way of the iPhone X series: total discontinuation. However Apple mentioned that it will still be in stock in stores, at least until they run through their stock, or find their way into a recycling bin.