Earlier this week, alongside its general release of iOS 10.2, Apple also rolled out watchOS 3.1.1 for its original Watch, improved Watch Series 1, and the new Watch Series 2. As indicated by the incremental increase in the version number over the previous release, watchOS 3.1.1 was not intended as a major feature update, but rather a minor collection of bug fixes and stability improvements for its wearable devices.
But it seems that things haven't quite gone according to plan. Far from improving the performance of their devices, some Apple Watch owners are reporting major problems with the update, which has resulted in their Watches being permanently bricked.
The issue appears to primarily affect the newest Watch Series 2, which launched in September, and not all units are affected, with many owners successfully installing the update without any problems.
But those who have been affected report that after installation, their Watch is completely unresponsive, displaying a red exclamation mark and directing them to visit www.apple.com/help/watch. The support site tells them to try a force-restart of the device, but owners say that that doesn't resolve the problem, leaving them with no option but to return their devices for replacement, since Apple Stores are unable to service Watches in-house.
Apple has since pulled the watchOS 3.1.1 update, and it's not yet clear when it plans to resume the rollout.