Today, September 13 2023, Apple unveiled the highly-anticipated Apple Watch Ultra 2, the latest addition to their line-up of rugged and feature-packed smartwatches. This new iteration of the Apple Watch comes with a slew of exciting features and represents a significant step towards Apple’s environmental sustainability goals.
A Leap in Power: The S9 SiP
The beating heart of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the S9 SiP, a custom Apple silicon that packs an incredible punch. This powerful chip brings a host of improvements and introduces the double tap gesture. With the S9 SiP, Apple Watch Ultra 2 boasts the fastest processing yet, thanks to its new 4-core Neural Engine. Machine learning tasks are now handled up to twice as swiftly as the original Apple Watch Ultra, enhancing overall performance.
Double Tap Gesture: A New Way to Interact
One of the most exciting additions to the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the innovative double tap gesture. This gesture is a testament to Apple’s commitment to making the watch intuitive and user-friendly. By simply tapping their index finger and thumb together twice, users can execute a range of common actions on the watch. This feature allows for one-handed operation without needing to touch the display.
The double tap gesture has a multitude of applications, including answering phone calls, controlling timers, managing music playback, and even accessing the Elevation view in the Compass app. It’s all made possible by the watch’s Neural Engine, which interprets the subtle wrist movements and changes in blood flow associated with the double tap gesture. This exciting feature is set to be available through a software update next month.
New Dazzling Display: 3000 Nits
Apple Watch Ultra 2 boasts the brightest display ever designed by Apple, reaching a dazzling 3000 nits – 1000 more than even the iPhone 15 Pro. This is a remarkable 50 percent increase in brightness compared to the first-generation Apple Watch Ultra, ensuring optimal readability even in the brightest sunlight. In low-light conditions, the display can dim down to just one nit to avoid disturbing those around you. The flashlight functionality also benefits from this new display architecture, temporarily doubling the brightness when you rotate the Digital Crown.
Modular Ultra Watch Face: Real-time Data at a Glance
A brand-new watch face, Modular Ultra, has been introduced specifically for the Apple Watch Ultra 2. It takes full advantage of the watch’s spacious display, using the outer edge to present real-time data such as seconds, altitude, or depth. This watch face offers the most complications of any Apple digital watch face, allowing users to customize it for various sports, outdoor activities, and water adventures.
Tested for Extremes: From Valleys to Peaks
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is designed to withstand extreme conditions and has been rigorously tested at various altitudes. It can operate at altitudes ranging from 500 meters below sea level to 9,000 meters, making it suitable for adventures in the lowest valleys and the tallest peaks on Earth.
Water enthusiasts will find the Apple Watch Ultra 2 to be an ideal companion. It supports water sports like kitesurfing and wakeboarding, and it can even handle recreational scuba diving to depths of 40 meters. The updated Oceanic+ app from Huish Outdoors enables freediving as well. During freedives, the watch provides critical data, including depth and elapsed time, in large, easy-to-read text.
It also monitors heart rate zones between dives and offers alarms for surface time and elapsed session time. The watch’s detailed logbook records every aspect of your diving sessions, including descent and ascent speeds.
On-Device Siri: Faster and More Secure
For the first time on an Apple Watch, Siri requests can be processed directly on the device. This results in quicker and more reliable responses, especially for tasks that don’t require internet access, like starting a workout or setting a timer. The Neural Engine makes dictation up to 25 percent more accurate. Importantly, on-device processing is private and secure.
Additionally, Siri can now access data from the Health app, making it even more useful for health and fitness-related queries. Users can inquire about their sleep duration, progress in closing their Activity rings, initiate outdoor workouts, and even log health data like weight, body temperature, period tracking, and medications taken – all through voice commands.
Precision Finding: Never Lose Your iPhone Again
The Apple Watch Ultra 2, equipped with the second-generation Ultra Wideband chip in the S9 SiP, introduces Precision Finding for the iPhone 15 family. This feature provides precise distance and direction guidance to locate a misplaced iPhone. It combines visual, haptic, and audio cues to guide users to their iPhone, even if it’s in a different room or in unfamiliar surroundings.
New watchOS 10 Updates
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 runs watchOS 10, a substantial update that brings a host of new features and improvements:
- Redesigned Apps: Apps have been overhauled for a quicker and more intuitive experience.
- Smart Stack: A new Smart Stack offers relevant widgets when needed.
- New Watch Faces: Alongside Modular Ultra, watchOS 10 introduces Snoopy, Palette, Solar Analogue, and Nike Globe watch faces.
- Night Mode: Night Mode activates automatically in dark conditions.
- Bluetooth Connectivity for Cyclists: Cyclists can now connect power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors for enhanced metrics and workouts.
- Topographic Maps: In the Maps app, new topographic maps display points of interest, trailheads, hill shading, contour lines, elevation, and more.
- Mental Health Support: The Mindfulness app includes state of mind logging.
- Daylight Measurement: The ambient light sensor measures time spent in daylight to help reduce the risk of myopia.
Carbon Neutral Models: A Sustainable Choice
Apple is taking significant strides towards carbon neutrality with select case and band combinations of the Apple Watch Ultra 2, Apple Watch SE, and the new Apple Watch Series 9. Emissions have been significantly reduced in these models, primarily from materials, electricity, and transportation. Any remaining emissions are offset with high-quality carbon credits from nature-based projects. For instance, the Apple Watch Ultra 2, paired with an Alpine Loop or Trail Loop, features 95 percent recycled titanium, a significant improvement over the first-generation Apple Watch Ultra.
To help users identify these sustainable models, Apple has introduced a new logo on the packaging.
Pricing and Availability
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available in a 49mm size and can be paired with the new Trail Loop or Alpine Loop bands. New band colors have been introduced for the Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, and Ocean Band.
Customers in various countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, the UAE, the UK, and the US, can place orders for the Apple Watch Ultra 2 starting today, with availability beginning on September 22. The retail price for the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is RRP A$1,399 inc. GST.