There’s no bad time to buy an Apple Watch, but there are better and worse times. Apple releases new Apple Watch models (called “series”) on a yearly cadence, and the price rarely changes by all that much. So to avoid buying an Apple Watch that is outdated after just a few weeks, you want to time it right.
Here’s what we know about Apple Watch release dates and when you should or should not buy.
Apple Watch: Pricing and specs
Released: September 2020
The most recent flagship Apple Watch is the Series 6, released in September of 2020. Its most significant new features are a blood oxygen sensor, a U1 chip, and better Wi-Fi connectivity. It starts at $399 for the 40mm size and $429 for the 44mm size. Cellular connectivity costs $100 more. You can often find it on sale on Amazon for around $349.
In the fall of 2020, along with the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple introduced the Apple Watch SE. It’s basically a slightly updated Series 4 and starts at $279 for 40mm and $309 for 44mm, with cellular options costing $50 extra. It’s often a little cheaper at Amazon. Apple often sells earlier-model Apple Watches at a reduced price, and right now that’s the Series 3, which starts at a modest $199.
Apple Watch: Why you should buy
Apple usually releases the new Apple Watch at the same time as the new iPhones, with an announcement in early fall and an on-sale date in late September or early October. If you can find one a Series 6 at a significant discount (around $80), you won’t regret the purchase.
The Apple Watch SE is different. It was only just introduced last year, and rumors suggest it might not get an upgrade this year. The iPhone SE is not updated yearly, so we suspect the Apple Watch SE might get the same treatment. So, if you’re interested in an Apple Watch SE, you might be safe buying one now, as the next one will not be introduced until the fall of 2022. We think the larger display with thinner bezels, much better performance, and a heap of additional features (like fall detection and noise monitoring) make it a much better deal than the Series 3 and you can often find it on sale at Amazon.
Apple Watch: Why you should wait
A new Apple Watch is right around the corner! The Apple Watch Series 7 is rumored to feature a new case design with flattened edges, and it looks quite sharp in fan renderings. We haven’t heard much yet about possible specs outside the word that it’ll have a new processor (which is true every year), upgraded display, and a larger battery. Rumored features like non-invasive blood glucose monitoring should be taken with a big grain of salt.
Still, you probably don’t want to buy a Series 6 when the Series 7 is less than two months away. Even if you determine that the Series 7 isn’t much of an upgrade and you don’t like the new look, you’ll still be able to find the Series 6 on sale.
Even if you are interested in the Apple Watch SE, it might be a good idea to wait if you can. While we don’t think Apple will update that model yearly, since it was only first introduced last fall, so we don’t know for sure yet. And Apple could cut the price, especially if the Series 3 likely going away. Speaking of the Series 3, we don’t recommend buying it at all.
Macworld recommends: WAIT
Whether you’re interested in the high-end Series 6 (or Series 7) or the more affordable SE, it’s probably a good idea to see what Apple’s going to announce this fall. We expect the new Apple Watch to be announced, and maybe even be on shelves, in September. There might be a new Apple Watch SE, or a price drop on the existing model, too.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life – over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.