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If you can get a good deal on the Apple Watch Series 7, then yes.
This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2023, CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice around Apple’s most popular product.
Apple’s next event is coming up in just a few days on Sept. 7, which means new iPhones and Apple Watches are likely right around the corner. With that in mind, you might be wondering whether it’s worth buying an Apple Watch right now. The answer is complicated, and it depends on how much you’re willing to spend and what you want out of a smartwatch.
Apple is expected to release three new Apple Watch models this year: the Series 8 (the successor to the Series 7), the Apple Watch SE (a new version of Apple’s $279 watch) and the Apple Watch Pro (a high-end sports watch). The Series 8 and 8 Pro are expected to include a temperature sensor that may be capable of detecting whether you have a fever, according to Bloomberg. Both watches will also likely come with a new processor, but only the Pro is expected to feature a larger display, longer battery life and a sturdier design.
The new SE, by comparison, would be a refreshed version of Apple’s budget watch, meaning it might run on an older processor and could be missing certain features like ECG monitoring and an always-on display.
If you’re considering the Series 7, buying one right now is potentially a wise move — as long as you can find a deal. If you don’t care about having the rumored upgrades mentioned above, this could be your last chance to snag the Series 7.
You can get the GPS-only version of the Series 7 for just $300 at Walmart, which is $100 less than Apple’s usual $400 price. Amazon is also currently offering the cellular version of the Apple Watch Series 7 for $400, a notable drop from the $500 that Apple typically charges. Check out our full story on Apple Watch deals for even more discounts.
Although it’ll be missing the Series 8’s upgrades, the Series 7 still has a large screen with a keyboard, a recent processor, health features like ECG and blood oxygen tracking and compatibility with Apple’s upcoming WatchOS 9 update.
But remember there’s a chance retailers could knock down the Series 7’s price following the Series 8’s debut — especially as Black Friday approaches. A second Amazon Prime Day is also rumored for October. But the Series 7 may also become more difficult to find after the Series 8 arrives, and deals may sell out quickly.
The case is a little different if you’re thinking about buying the Apple Watch SE. Amazon is offering a pretty compelling deal that brings the price for the GPS-only 40-millimeter model down to about $230. That’s a decent discount compared to Apple’s regular $279 price, but it might be worth waiting to see what Apple has in store for the rumored second generation Apple Watch SE.
The current model is probably fine for most casual users, but it also runs on Apple’s S5 processor that will likely soon be three generations old. If you’re able to stretch your budget, you might be able to get a newer watch that will last longer. (Plus, I’m hoping to see some upgrades like the addition of an always-on display in the 2022 model).
So, should you buy an Apple Watch right now? If you can find a good deal on the Series 7, go for it. Buying a discounted Apple Watch SE (if you can find one) isn’t a terrible idea. But you might not get as much mileage out of it since it’s already running on an older processor. And don’t even think about buying an Apple Watch Series 3. It runs on a much older processor, which means it will probably start to feel slow, and it isn’t compatible with the latest Apple Watch software.
We’ll know more about what’s next for the Apple Watch when Apple holds its next event on Sept. 7.
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