The Apple Watch Ultra was released last year as a new premium smartwatch option, intended to be more durable and long-lasting version of the Apple Watch Series. Today, Apple announced a sequel with updated hardware, making the watch faster and more powerful.
The new second-generation Apple Watch Ultra isn’t a substantial redesign or overhaul of the original model. As with most revisions of the regular Apple Watch, there are just a handful of minor improvements. It’s now using the same S9 chipset as the new Apple Watch Series 9 (also announced today). It also supports the same double-tap gesture as the Series 9, where you can tap your thumb and index finger together to answer a call, stop an alarm, or other actions that usually require tapping the screen. Siri now processes some commands on-device for better accuracy and speed, and there’s no precision finding in Find My — both of those are also present on the Series 9.
So, what’s actually exclusive to the Watch Ultra, you might ask? Well, the display has been updated to support a higher maximum brightness of 3,000 nits. Apple says it’s the brightest display ever used in one of the company’s products. That should improve usability in direct sunlight. The watch also can also connect to external Bluetooth accessories for tracking cycling and other activities that can’t be accurately tracked from your wrist alone.
The battery life has also been improved, with Apple claiming 36 hours of battery life with typical usage and up to 72 hours in low-power mode (where most features are turned off). Finally, some of the materials have changed in the watch and available bands to reduce the amount of pollutants created during manufacturing. Granted, the most carbon-neutral watch is the one you already have.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available to pre-order at the Apple Store today for $799, and it will show up on store shelves starting on September 22nd. It doesn’t seem all that enticing to anyone who already owns the original Watch Ultra, but if you had your eye on the Ultra, you might as well wait for the second-generation model to become available.