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

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Last updated

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

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.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has an all-new S9 SiP and carbon neutral options.

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.