Apple Watch Ultra 2 gains S9 chip, brighter screen, and new gesture

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited October 2023

Apple has introduced the second-generation Apple Watch Ultra, bringing a new gesture, a brighter screen, and more to the adventure-focused wearable.

Apple Watch Ultra 2
Apple Watch Ultra 2



Part of the annual Apple Watch refresh and appearing alongside the Apple Watch Series 9, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 doesn't stray far from the first generation's design, but there are still changes.

The Apple Watch Ultra is a wearable designed for rugged environments and activities, with a large display and flat sapphire front crystal encased in a titanium enclosure. The always-on Retina LTPO OLED display returns with a new 3,000-nit brightness and can lower it to one nit for dark environments.



That brightness also heralds a new watch face, Modular Ultra, which uses the outer edge to offer even more glanceable data. It provides the most customization options for individuals engaged in sports, outdoor explorations, and activities in and around water bodies.

Once again, the sizable bump on the side surrounding the Digital Crown and side button returns and the Action button on the opposite side.



Along with the established externals, the inside also benefits from a new chip. The move to the S9 chip will provide a considerable performance boost to the Apple Watch Ultra compared to the S8 used in the original, resulting in smoother UI animations, among other benefits.

The S9, which has 5.6 billion transistors, now has a 4-core Neural Engine, enabling dictation to be 29% more accurate than the Apple Watch Series 9, and for on-device processing of Siri for common commands.

The inclusion of Ultra Wideband adds in more range-based functionality, such as Handoff to the HomePod. Additionally, it provides immediate access to Now Playing controls if the speaker is in use.




Apple customers who have lost their iPhone can use the Apple Watch Ultra 2 -- with the Ultra Wideband chip -- to find their iPhone with Precision Finding. Once a user is near the iPhone's location, the Apple Watch will provide information such as the distance away from the iPhone using visual, haptic, and audio cues.

Like the Apple Watch Series 9, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a new double-tap gesture that uses the S9 chip to detect a physical gesture from a user's fingers. Tapping a thumb and forefinger together can answer and end phone calls, snooze alarms, set timers, scroll through certain watch faces, and more.

For the first time on an Apple Watch, Siri can handle requests directly on the device. For tasks that don't need online data, such as initiating a workout or setting up a timer, Siri operates without the need for Wi-Fi or cellular connections, leading to faster and more dependable replies.




Production of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is 100% carbon neutral. Being "100% carbon neutral" means that a company, person, or product has balanced the carbon dioxide it emits into the atmosphere with an equivalent amount of carbon offset.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 runs watchOS 10



Along with the new features of the Apple Watch Ultra 2, the wearable also runs watchOS 10, offering new capabilities such as:


  • Cycling workouts can automatically appear as a Live Activity on the iPhone and can expand to use the entire screen when tapped.

  • The revamped Compass app shows the present elevation continuously and features a 3D representation of waypoints, illustrating the differences in elevation.

  • Night Mode now leverages the ambient light sensor to turn on automatically in low-light conditions.

  • Bluetooth integration for power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors is now available for cyclists, offering access to new metrics and views during workouts and cycling sessions.

Pricing & Availability



The Apple Watch Ultra 2 starts at $799 with preorders starting on Tuesday, September 12, with the wearable to start shipping on September 22.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    In today's cringeworthy moment: after touting sustainability and carbon-neutral-ness...we move to showing people climbing "the highest mountain" something that is widely known to be a complete ecological disaster. AWU is a cool product, but man...cringe city in highlighting the ability to enable that.
    edited September 2023 dewmeAlex1N
  • Reply 2 of 26
    There was a rumor that the Watch was going to have an improved heart rate sensor. That was not mentioned. Does anyone know if it did get an improved sensor?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 26
    Uh... This intro was as clear as mud. Is the new ultra face only on 2? Is the automatic night mode only on 2? The "features grid" is a mix of hardware and iOS updates. What is what?
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 26
    The automatic night node isn't new, it works on the first Ultra but only in the wayfinder face. I use it all the time and it's very useful.
    appleinsideruserAlex1NJapheywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 26
    rw49isa said:
    The automatic night node isn't new, it works on the first Ultra but only in the wayfinder face. I use it all the time and it's very useful.
    It is manual, not automatic. That being said, they didn't say automatic was Ultra 2 only.
    jahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 26
    Not much improvement (very minor tweaks) and they have dropped the ultra original watch face. Get the impression next year we will have carbon neutral plastic watches and cardboard wrist bands if things continue! 

    Anyone stop to think why we are paying the same or even higher prices for other peoples recycled materials! Surly the price should go down as the quality or durability has decreased?  I even read Titanium scratches easily.

    Thoughts? 
    entropys
  • Reply 7 of 26
    Is the new double tap feature available only for old Apple Watches? 
    jahblade
  • Reply 8 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member
    eightzero said:
    In today's cringeworthy moment: after touting sustainability and carbon-neutral-ness...we move to showing people climbing "the highest mountain" something that is widely known to be a complete ecological disaster. AWU is a cool product, but man...cringe city in highlighting the ability to enable that.
    It’s a watch for extreme athletes, so that wasn’t surprising. A few hundred people each year doing that isn’t going to change anything.
    jahbladeAlex1NentropysScot1macxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member

    rickerdoo said:
    There was a rumor that the Watch was going to have an improved heart rate sensor. That was not mentioned. Does anyone know if it did get an improved sensor?
    That was never a real rumor by anyone trustworthy. That will, unfortunately, be several years away, as will be a blood sugar sensor. Too bad, I could use them both.
    Alex1NScot1llamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 26
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,508member

    DocUpdate said:
    Not much improvement (very minor tweaks) and they have dropped the ultra original watch face. Get the impression next year we will have carbon neutral plastic watches and cardboard wrist bands if things continue! 

    Anyone stop to think why we are paying the same or even higher prices for other peoples recycled materials! Surly the price should go down as the quality or durability has decreased?  I even read Titanium scratches easily.

    Thoughts? 
    A fair amount of improvement. A much brighter display for outdoors. I can testify, using mine, that it could be brighter in direct sun. Much more powerful processor. That allows several new functions. The only things I’m disappointed in is that it didn’t come in the rumored black and that they didn’t update the link bracelet for this size. That’s the best bracelet I’ve ever had.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 26
    Evil Apple. I was hoping there would not be an upgraded Ultra this year.

    Offline Siri is a game changer for me and very helpful indeed. May actually be enough for me to sell my furniture and upgrade from my Ultra to Ultra 2.
    That and precision finder for iPhone. Life is too short to run around trying to find your phone.

    The profile ration of UW chips in the Apple devices makes them local ecosystem aware in a much better way than before. I think this will lead to a many more features and services coming out in the coming years.


    jahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 26
    Appleish said:
    rw49isa said:
    The automatic night node isn't new, it works on the first Ultra but only in the wayfinder face. I use it all the time and it's very useful.
    It is manual, not automatic. That being said, they didn't say automatic was Ultra 2 only.
    it is automatic on the new OS
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 26
    designr said:
    So the question here is always: What previous watch would you be at that might justify an upgrade to, for example, the new Series 9?

    I mean last year's? No. Year-over-year updates for Watch or iPhone seem pretty silly these days. But how far back does it seem like "Eh, that's a pretty decent jump in features, functions, performance, etc."?
    My AW4 is a candidate. Soon due. Not sure it's a lunch day thing, but soon now. That AW4 replaced a launch day first gen AW "series 0." Stuff has come a long way.

    I'm curious if the new finger tap thingy on the watch can be used by apps to do other things.
    designrAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 26
    designr said:
    So the question here is always: What previous watch would you be at that might justify an upgrade to, for example, the new Series 9?

    I mean last year's? No. Year-over-year updates for Watch or iPhone seem pretty silly these days. But how far back does it seem like "Eh, that's a pretty decent jump in features, functions, performance, etc."?
    It depends on what thing is critical to you. Once that thing gets upgraded, it will worth to you to upgrade too. 
    Alex1NAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 26
    melgross said:
    eightzero said:
    In today's cringeworthy moment: after touting sustainability and carbon-neutral-ness...we move to showing people climbing "the highest mountain" something that is widely known to be a complete ecological disaster. AWU is a cool product, but man...cringe city in highlighting the ability to enable that.
    It’s a watch for extreme athletes, so that wasn’t surprising. A few hundred people each year doing that isn’t going to change anything.
    It's just tone deaf. 

    DocUpdate said:
    Not much improvement (very minor tweaks) and they have dropped the ultra original watch face. Get the impression next year we will have carbon neutral plastic watches and cardboard wrist bands if things continue! 

    Anyone stop to think why we are paying the same or even higher prices for other peoples recycled materials! Surly the price should go down as the quality or durability has decreased?  I even read Titanium scratches easily.

    Thoughts? 
    Recycling is just mining in a different way from a different source. It requires new techniques that cost money to develop and implement. And stop calling me Shirley.
    bageljoey
  • Reply 16 of 26
    There is no such thing as a preorder. You either order or you don’t order. 
    Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 26
    Is the new double tap feature available only for old Apple Watches? 
    I thought it was on last year’s Ultra in accessibility features maybe not
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 26
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,519member
    designr said:
    So the question here is always: What previous watch would you be at that might justify an upgrade to, for example, the new Series 9?

    I mean last year's? No. Year-over-year updates for Watch or iPhone seem pretty silly these days. But how far back does it seem like "Eh, that's a pretty decent jump in features, functions, performance, etc."?
    Obviously it depends on the person. Anyone with a series 3 or older should undoubtedly upgrade.

    The Series 4 is a tricky one. It’s still fully supported by Apple and was the last watch (well, excluding the ultra I guess) to have a true redesign. But the battery is probably getting to the point now where it’ll need replacing due to age and it’s very unlikely to get software updates past this next year.

    Generally speaking I don’t see why anyone with a Series 5 and up would feel compelled to upgrade. I know that my Series 6 still works perfectly and does everything I want.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 26
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 1,031member
    I bought the Ultra Watch last year and am trading it in for the regular Series 9
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 26
    Appleish said:
    Uh... This intro was as clear as mud. Is the new ultra face only on 2? Is the automatic night mode only on 2? The "features grid" is a mix of hardware and iOS updates. What is what?
    All they did was reprint the Apple press release.
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