Reviewers say there's no need to upgrade to Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited October 2023

Across all of the first reviews of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, both models are praised, their new features are welcomed, but neither has enough to warrant upgrading.

The new Apple Watch brings a performance boost and greater Find My accuracy
The new Apple Watch brings a performance boost and greater Find My accuracy



Probably the most significant update with the Apple Watch Series 9 is its forthcoming new double-tap gesture to let users control their Watch with a pinch of their fingers. There is a similar feature already in older Watches, but it appears that the faster processor in the Series 9 may make a difference.

If you asked me, 'Should I upgrade my Apple Watch to the Series 9 this year?' I'd probably say no," says the Wall Street Journal. "It's a fine watch. It's just not much better than the Series 8, which you can get cheaper, even refurbished right from Apple."

"The improvements to the Series 9 are internal, enabling new features that are nice-to-haves," it continues. "There are no game-changers."

"I'm most grumpy about the battery life," continues the Wall Street Journal. "I'm not saying Apple Watches are useless without default multiday battery life... But a battery-life quantum leap is needed."

Tom's Guide is more enthused in a review headed "the best smartwatch gets better."

"With the exception of a subtle pink finish, there's nothing noteworthy looks-wise with the Apple Watch Series 9," it says. "Instead, its S9 processor introduces the watch's most significant performance boost in years, powering a brighter display and faster Siri interactions."

Wired lamented that the new Series 9 "looks mostly the same" as the Series 8, but also criticized watchOS 10's new mental health logging feature.

"As someone who has struggled with anxiety for years, State of Mind is simultaneously inadequate and painfully intimate," it says. "Tracking your sleep is one thing, but it's weird to take an assessment outside of a doctor's office that asks you whether you've ever considered ending it all."

Then The Verge calls the Series 9 an iterative update.

"[While] the updates do make the overall experience better, it's like paying another dollar to add an extra topping to your pizza," it says. "For some people, that makes the pizza. For others, it's nice but really not necessary."

The Apple Watch Series 9 gets a more positive review from the New York Times, and its Wirecutter section. "The Apple Watch Series 9 offers the best combination of style, health and fitness features, app selection, battery life, and price of any smartwatch for any platform," it says.

"But we also found plenty of reasons to like the budget-friendly Apple Watch SE," it continues, "and the sportier Apple Watch Ultra 2, which replaces last year's Ultra but looks identical.

Apple Watch Ultra 2
Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2



Perhaps the most telling account of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 comes from The Verge, which says the new edition is virtually indistinguishable from its predecessor.

"When I got my hands-on at Apple Park, a representative advised I stow my Ultra in my bag -- lest I accidentally leave it behind," says the review. "This entire week, I've had to rely on very minimal signs of wear and tear on my original Ultra to tell these two watches apart."

Tom's Guide agrees that the two editions are practically the same.

"That's to say there aren't very many upgrades between the Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch Ultra 2," it says, "and certainly not enough to make someone who has the original switch to the new one."

"Despite the Ultra's brighter display, new complication-packed watch face, and the introduction of a performance-boosting chip," continues the publication, "it doesn't deliver the quintessential smartwatch experience."

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available for purchase from Amazon.com, Adorama.com and Expercom.com, with availability from September 22. Easily compare prices across top retailers in the AppleInsider Apple Watch Price Guide.

Read on AppleInsider

jahblade

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Typical upgrade cycles for most customers is several years, and Apple undoubtedly knows this. Both new watches are great upgrades from 4, 5, 6, and 7 series. That’s a lot of people who would benefit greatly from the new features of the Series 9 and Ultra 2. 😉
    jahbladeStrangeDaysGraeme000mike1dewmeiOS_Guy80FileMakerFellerkiowavtAlex1Nhcrefugee
  • Reply 2 of 20
    designr said:

    ...but neither has enough to warrant upgrading.

    Upgrading from what though?

    Do these reviews always assume upgrading from last year's model? Are a significant number of people still doing that? I don't think most people need a review to tell them that there's not much point in upgrading from a  Series 8 to 9 or an Ultra 1 to 2.

    The real question to be answered is which series of Watch are you on that would make it worth upgrading? Series 5? 4? Later? Earlier?

    What are your needs with the watch? Does Series 9 (or Ultra 2) help with those needs?

    Yeah, had the same reaction. The upgrade from my 6 will be quite welcome, thank you. Maybe an upgrade scale is needed with clever emoji next to each Series Number, much like AI does with rumors. 
    jahbladeGraeme000iOS_Guy80bala1234FileMakerFellerkiowavtAlex1NththcrefugeeAlex_V
  • Reply 3 of 20
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,684member
    It’s called the high end tech bubble they assume everyone is already in the door, most people to this date don’t even have a Apple Watch, including me, what I need to know from the reviewers is if the new Apple Watch is better than all the old ones, and does it have any value if you are new to the platform.
    edited September 2023 jahbladeFileMakerFellerAlex1NMacProwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    "need" ? since when people buy Apple products because they need them ?
    jahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    Why do these writers keep pretending that people are expected to upgrade their devices annually? Phone nerds do but not normals. Do they do the same w/ auto reviews? No. It's madness. 

    Iterative development is the name of the game. Gruber wrote about this over a decade ago.

    Daring Fireball: This Is How Apple Rolls
    edited September 2023 williamlondondesignrdewmekiowavtAlex1Nhcrefugeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    So I upgraded my Ultra. The kicker for me was the on device Siri command processing. And that Apple pretty much gave me 50% on the trade in.
    TomPMRIiOS_Guy80kiowavtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,268member
    As an Apple Watch Series 5 LTE owner, either of these new watches would be a significant upgrade. But truth be told, the Series 5 LTE is still an impressive device and not even remotely obsolete. I'd say that even as an Apple enthusiast, a 3-year refresh cycle on the iPhone and a 5-year refresh cycle on the Apple Watch is usually more than enough to keep things exciting and new for me, regardless of whether I can afford to upgrade more frequently or not. If I received a birthday cake every month I think it would take the edge off the excitement level a little bit. They'd have to at least throw in a pie every now and then, which is analogous to having other interests outside of Apple gear. 
    Alex1Nfreeassociate2hcrefugeewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Patience people.
    september is not over yet.
    we can expect the announcement of the upgrades any day now
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Bad headline.  If you read the reviews, the assumption is the customer has last year’s model and is considering upgrading this year.  In this scenario, according to some reviews, there aren’t enough compelling reasons to upgrade.  But what if someone has one of the seven models that came before the Series 8 — would the Series 9/Ultra 2 be compelling for them?

    An honest title would be:

    Reviewers say there are few reasons to upgrade to Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 for some users

    kiowavtAlex1Nfreeassociate2watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    This doltish theme is repeated ad-nauseam. New models are not designed to convince owners of last year’s devices to upgrade. Reviewers know this, and reviews that suggest the new model has somehow missed the mark by not rendering last year’s model hopelessly obsolete are just disingenuously seeking clicks. 
    designrwilliamlondonStrangeDaysFileMakerFellerkiowavtAlex1Nthtstompywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 20
    Wow what a newsflash, iterative updates..which everyone does on everything.
    FileMakerFellerkiowavtAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Apple watch app takes data strongly depends on watch version. For example, the sleep app will not take data continuously with series 6. You have no idea when you REMP sleep at night. Without looking closely with each app the reviewers will not know how Series 9 differs Series 8.
    Alex_V
  • Reply 13 of 20
    The "new complication-packed watch face" comes with the new WatchOS update on the original Ultra, and it is "da bomb." I might have bought the Ultra 2 just for that face if I didn't get it for "free."
    edited September 2023 kiowavtAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    I agree with most comments here, almost no one anymore updates every year. I have the Apple Watch 6 and to me it is worth it now to the ultra 2 ! Same with my iPhone 13 256  I will upgrade finally to the 15 pro 256  I always wait 2 years at least to make it worthwhile 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    red oakred oak Posts: 1,077member
    The state of technology “journalism” is awful.  Broken.  These reviewers are so entitled and snarky

    Complains the Watch Ultra uses the same case?  Give me a break.  So simpleton 


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    hmlongco said:
    So I upgraded my Ultra. The kicker for me was the on device Siri command processing. And that Apple pretty much gave me 50% on the trade in.
    I don't know that Apple "gave" you anything. If you're only going to use a watch for a year or less but pay 50% of the purchase price, that's a great deal for Apple every single time. 

    I have a tough time understanding Apple's strategy with the Ultra 2. Obviously, with the model just being introduced last year, no major changes were expected, but the goal of this v2 product should be to attract new buyers since there will be very limited upgraders from the original. But what about the U2 would persuade you to buy it if you passed on the first version? Ummmm... nothing. But there are meaningful things Apple could have done without a big redesign:
    • Significantly better battery life would have been a big draw with the adventure watch buyer that the Ultra is targeting. But that didn't happen.
    • The widely rumored black Ti variant also didn't happen, although Apple has had great past success boosting sales by offering different colors. 
    • Also rumored was a version upgrade to the onboard sensors, but that didn't happen either.
    • Even the new and prominently featured modular watchface for the U2 wasn't, as it turns out, exclusive to it--Watch OS 10 makes it available to the orignal Ultra, as well. (Thanks Apple!) 
    So the U2 gets a modestly brighter display and on device Siri command processing...which might be a bigger deal if Siri wasn't such a dope. Instead, you now get to vent Siri frustration at a whole new device! 


    edited September 2023 muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonwaveparticlewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 3,182member
     Tom's Guide: "it doesn't deliver the quintessential smartwatch experience."
    Wow. That's both wrong and mean.
    watto_cobradesignr
  • Reply 18 of 20
    thttht Posts: 5,354member
    hecalder said:
    I agree with most comments here, almost no one anymore updates every year. I have the Apple Watch 6 and to me it is worth it now to the ultra 2 ! Same with my iPhone 13 256  I will upgrade finally to the 15 pro 256  I always wait 2 years at least to make it worthwhile 
    You're not alone in having older hardware. I currently have in the household:

    2013 iMac 27
    2017 iPad Pro 10.5
    2018 Apple Watch Series 4
    2020 iPhone 12

    The iPhone 12 will go for another 2 years at least. I'm ready to upgrade the Watch Series 4. I'm waiting for OLED iPads. iMac? Won't replace that until it stops booting, though I don't remember the last time it was powered off.

    These "is the new device worth buying/upgrading to" articles are your basic device review article template. For the past 15 years, it has been the basic question the article asks, and the answer is always no to the mass market audience. If you have a 1 to 2 year old device, you don't upgrade. This has been true of literally every single product in existence.

    The only people who "upgrade" yearly are people who live the buy-sell-tradein cycle. With iPhone resale value so high, you are actually spending very little per year to always have a new device. However, to do this well, you will need a backup device for when you get hot deal, and you have to "work" to sell your phone. Some people love doing it. It's like building your own PC for cheap. Your time is "free". Others? Not so much.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,268member
    charlesn said:
    hmlongco said:
    So I upgraded my Ultra. The kicker for me was the on device Siri command processing. And that Apple pretty much gave me 50% on the trade in.
    I don't know that Apple "gave" you anything. If you're only going to use a watch for a year or less but pay 50% of the purchase price, that's a great deal for Apple every single time. 

    I have a tough time understanding Apple's strategy with the Ultra 2. Obviously, with the model just being introduced last year, no major changes were expected, but the goal of this v2 product should be to attract new buyers since there will be very limited upgraders from the original. But what about the U2 would persuade you to buy it if you passed on the first version? Ummmm... nothing. But there are meaningful things Apple could have done without a big redesign:
    • Significantly better battery life would have been a big draw with the adventure watch buyer that the Ultra is targeting. But that didn't happen.
    • The widely rumored black Ti variant also didn't happen, although Apple has had great past success boosting sales by offering different colors. 
    • Also rumored was a version upgrade to the onboard sensors, but that didn't happen either.
    • Even the new and prominently featured modular watchface for the U2 wasn't, as it turns out, exclusive to it--Watch OS 10 makes it available to the orignal Ultra, as well. (Thanks Apple!) 
    So the U2 gets a modestly brighter display and on device Siri command processing...which might be a bigger deal if Siri wasn't such a dope. Instead, you now get to vent Siri frustration at a whole new device! 


    What you’re saying absolutely makes sense. It’s almost like Apple felt obligated to release a new Ultra when they didn’t really have a critical mass of new features to justify the development costs. Why not roll that investment into next year and offer enough to pull in more upgrades from existing Ultra customers. 

    I for one would have bought the Ultra 1 model this year and without hesitation if I was in the market for a new Apple Watch. I’m so impressed with what Apple did with the Ultra both functionally and cost wise. I love that it’s only a single model with everything included. No more picking a base model and then having to option it up to the point where you’re paying a hefty price anyway. The Ultra slices through all that unnecessary crap by having all the options boxes checked off, plus a lot more, while still leaving the showroom with a price that feels justified. 

    I sometimes wish Apple had fewer choices with some products and had something more like a good-better-best model.  They could still retain the option for build to order with the expectation that you may have to wait longer to get it. The iPhone is slowly approaching this model. 

    My hope of course is that with fewer models they could omit some of what I consider sub-good models and make the premium models more affordable. Apple’s products should all be biased towards higher end offerings in my opinion. If I want cheap or cost driven I’d by a Windows machine. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.