The first generation of Apple Watch, originally released in 2015, has been added to Apple’s obsolete product list, including the incredibly expensive $17,000 18-karat gold model.
An Apple internal memo obtained by MacRumors shows the Series 0 Apple Watch models are now on the obsolete list as of September 30. Products deemed “obsolete” by Apple are no longer eligible for repairs or any other services, including software support, in Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers.
Considering Apple’s approach to older products across the company’s hero product line, it's no surprise to see the eight-year-old smartwatch finally lose its repairability. For owners of the Series 0 Watch who have been unable to update from watchOS 5 (released in 2018), it is high time to upgrade to a newer Apple Watch like the Series 9.
While we’ve come to accept the Apple Watch as a tiny computer on your wrist, in 2015, Apple wanted to ensure that its first foray into the watch industry was a luxury option. The original Apple Watch Edition made of solid gold was Apple’s way of saying, “Hey, we make nice watches too,” later replacing the 18-karat gold with a more affordable $1,299 ceramic model.
Nearly a decade later, those expensive watches early adopters purchased are on their last legs, with any damage to the display or an internal fault like a swollen battery spelling its demise.
Time is of the essence — iMore’s take
Watches are highly repairable items. In the UK, there’s a watch repair store on every other street, and you can easily swap out dead batteries, have mechanisms looked at, or get straps replaced. That said, Apple doesn’t want you to think of the Apple Watch as a watch, and rightfully so. It’s capable of far more than any other watch, which has helped normalize the 18-hour battery life we see on the current models.
However, when Apple first launched the Apple Watch, the company didn’t focus on health and fitness, instead opting to make a big deal about the luxury aspects of its first venture into the world of wearables. And the fact that Apple sold those original Watches in such a way makes this obsolescence a bitter pill to swallow. The idea of no longer having a repair option for a watch you spent over $500 on in 2015 is baffling when thinking about a traditional watch.
Apple has since moved away from competing with the luxury watch market, focusing on health and fitness in the SE and Series 9 models and extreme sports with the most premium option today, the Apple Watch Ultra 2.
Tell someone who purchased an Apple Watch today that their smartwatch could be an unrepairable brick in 2031, and most would understand and accept the notion based on the fact that an Apple Watch purchase is essentially the same as any other piece of technology. Tell someone in 2015 that the luxury Hermès watch they just bought from Apple will no longer work before its tenth anniversary, and I think you’d get a slightly different reaction. Apple wants us to rethink the concept of time, and we largely have, but let’s not forget how the Apple Watch used to try and compete with a Rolex, yet now that couldn’t be further from the case.
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John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.
Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.
John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.
John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.
In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.
The Watch is more than a mere time piece. It’s a computer that fits on your wrist. With that being said, 8 years is a long time in computer life… ;)Reply
The fact that I’ve not worn a non-smartwatch or even purchased one since getting the original Watch is a testament to usefulness I get from the latter.
An argument can be made that the Watch, like the iPhone, is a technological marvel.
Might bring out my series zero to see if it still works.Reply
FFR said:Might bring out my series zero to see if it still works.
I don’t even know where mine is. I gave it to away after getting the Series 3 and then I gave away the Series 3 when I purchased the Series 5. I’m surprised I still have my Series 5, but it has performed so well to where I haven’t needed to replace it yet. I am interested in a Series 9, but not to the point of craving it. I’d spring for an Ultra 2 if I can find a professional-looking watch band for it.
Just_Me_D said:I don’t even know where mine is. I gave it to away after getting the Series 3 and then I gave away the Series 3 when I purchased the Series 5. I’m surprised I still have my Series 5, but it has performed so well to where I haven’t needed to replace it yet. I am interested in a Series 9, but not to the point of craving it. I’d spring for an Ultra 2 if I can find a professional-looking watch band for it.
I’m replacing my series 6 with an ultra 2, I say go for it.
FFR said:I’m replacing my series 6 with an ultra 2, I say go for it.
Sometime this weekend, I’ll visit an Apple Store and/or Best Buy to get a good look at the Ultra 2 and then see if I can find a band that I find office-ready. If I do find one then the Ultra 2 is as good as bought. :) If not then so be it. I’m not in a rush or anything.
My Series 5 still works very well for me. I’ve thought about going to Best Buy and looking at the Series 9 or even a Series 8. I’m not really in a hurry to upgrade.Reply
Well, last night I went to a nearby Best Buy store and purchased a brand new Watch Ultra 2 with the Indigo Alpine Loop band. The speed and responsiveness of this watch are amazing and I’m glad I decided to get it.Reply
Just_Me_D said:Well, last night I went to a nearby Best Buy store and purchased a brand new Watch Ultra 2 with the Indigo Alpine Loop band. The speed and responsiveness of this watch are amazing and I’m glad I decided to get it.
FFR said:Well played.
Thank you……and I got it at the price Amazon was charging.