Apple Watch Ultra
Apple Watch Ultra
DeveloperApple Inc.
Manufacturer
TypeSmartwatch
Release dateUltra: September 23, 2022; 18 months ago (2022-09-23)
Ultra 2: September 22, 2023; 6 months ago (2023-09-22)
Operating systemwatchOS
Websiteapple.com/watch

Apple Watch Ultra is a line of sport smartwatches produced by Apple Inc. as part of the Apple Watch product line. Introduced in September 2022, they are marketed towards endurance athletes and outdoor recreation, and carry a rugged form factor with a wider band, a larger, brighter display, multi-band GPS, a larger battery, water temperature sensor, and additional functionality for diving.

Hardware

Main article: Apple Watch § Hardware

The Apple Watch Ultra hardware is generally similar to the main Apple Watch line (with the first-generation model based on Apple Watch Series 8), but is differentiated by their rugged titanium casing, a larger 49 mm band, and a larger display with a flat crystal and higher brightness of up to 2,000 nits. It supports multi-band GPS on L1 and L5.[3] The Ultra includes a new, orange-colored "Action" button, which can be mapped to different functions, as well as an emergency siren feature.[3] Apple Watch Ultra contains a battery 76% larger than that of Series 8, which Apple rated at 36 hours of usage without using power saving modes (as opposed to Apple's rating of 18 hours on the main line). A power saving mode which reduces the amount of heart rate readings and GPS polling can extend its battery life to around 60 hours.[3] All Apple Watch Ultra models include cellular connectivity.[3]

Apple Watch Ultra has a water temperature sensor, and carries WR100 and EN13319 certification. Apple rates the device for diving to depths of up to 40 metres (130 ft); a new "Depth" app is included for displaying depth and water temperature information, while Apple partnered with Oceanic Worldwide to release the subscription-based "Oceanic Plus" app for more advanced dive computer functionality.[4]

Models

The first-generation Apple Watch Ultra was unveiled September 7, 2022 alongside Apple Watch Series 8, and began shipping September 23, 2022.[5]

Apple Watch Ultra 2 was unveiled on September 22, 2023, alongside Apple Watch Series 9; alongside the updated hardware inherited from Series 9, its screen brightness was further increased to 3,000 nits.[6][7][8] In December 2023, Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 were temporarily pulled from the U.S. market due to patent litigation by Masimo. They returned to sale on January 18, 2024, with models sold after this date having blood oxygen monitoring features disabled.[9]

Reception

Victoria Song of The Verge felt that the first-generation Apple Watch Ultra was "a great first attempt at a rugged smartwatch" and "legitimately good for weekend warriors and intermediate athletes", noting features such as the Action button (which she believed should be added to the main Apple Watch line as well) and multi-band GPS, and the larger screen being easier to read. She felt that the Ultra benefitted from the new mapping and compass features (such as BackTrack) introduced by watchOS 9. She noted that Apple's battery life estimations were conservative in comparison to real-world use, where she regularly got closer to 48 hours of battery life during regular exercise use without using power saving modes, and another Verge staff member reported 56 hours via general, non-fitness use at home. However, she noted that the Apple Watch line still lacked certain features (including longer battery life, offline maps and trail navigation, and transflective displays) and fitness metrics in comparison to competitors such as Garmin and Polar, but that watchOS still "runs circles around fitness watches in terms of connectivity and simplicity".[3]

References

  1. ^ Eva Dou (June 20, 2014). "Who Is Apple's Watch Maker?". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
  2. ^ Joe Rossignol (September 26, 2018). "Apple Watch Series 4 Expected to Gain Second Manufacturer Following 'Much Better Than Expected' Demand". MacRumors. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Song, Victoria (September 21, 2022). "Apple Watch Ultra review: an aspirational debut". The Verge. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  4. ^ Song, Victoria (November 28, 2022). "Now the Apple Watch Ultra can actually be your diving computer". The Verge. Retrieved February 28, 2024.
  5. ^ Stein, Scott. "Apple Watch Ultra Hands-On: Everything You Need to Know". CNET. Archived from the original on September 8, 2022. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  6. ^ Peters, Jay (September 12, 2023). "Apple announces Apple Watch Series 9, and it has a handy double-tap feature". The Verge. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  7. ^ "Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2: These are the top new features". Macworld. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  8. ^ Peters, Jay (September 12, 2023). "Hands-on with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9". The Verge. Retrieved February 28, 2024.
  9. ^ Peters, Jay (January 18, 2024). "Apple Watches without banned blood oxygen features are now on sale". The Verge. Retrieved February 28, 2024.