Credit: Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
In an internal memo sent out to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP) on Monday, the Cupertino tech giant said that repair technicians now have the go-ahead to swap certain Apple Watch Series 3 models brought in for repair with new Apple Watch Series 4 models.
The Apple Watch Series 4 features a slimmer body than its predecessor, but manages to pack a bigger display. It also sports new features like an electrocardiogram (ECG) app and automatic fall detection.
According to that memo, obtained by MacRumors, the repair/replacement program is due to low inventory levels of Apple Watch Series 3 models.
What’s the Catch?
Of course, you can’t just bring in a Series 3 device and get a Series 4 for free. The substitution will only take place for certain models that require certain repairs.
The memo states that owners of a stainless steel Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) can receive an Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) as a replacement.
It isn’t clear what specific repairs will require a swap, and the memo doesn’t seem to add any other details about eligible repair procedures.
While the substitution program appears to apply at Apple Stores and AASPs globally, your own mileage may vary as to whether certain locations will be aware of the program.
Keep in mind that there also isn’t any specified end date for the program. Although, you can set up a service appointment now at a Genius Bar or AASP on Apple’s Get Support webpage.
The new Series 3/Series 4 replacement program is the latest in a series of similar moves on Apple’s part. Earlier this month, Apple started a program that allowed Apple Stores and AASPs to swap defective Apple Watch Series 2 models with newer Apple Watch Series 3 devices.
It’s worth noting that Apple’s low Series 3 inventory may point toward the specific model being discontinued in the fall when new Apple wearables are announced. Presumably, Apple will keep the Series 4 on as an older and cheaper alternative when the Apple Watch Series 5 launches.