The Apple Watch family is arguably the best smartwatch series in existence, and when we got the Apple Watch Ultra in 2022, it took everything up a few notches. Now, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is here to show Apple was only just getting started. From new processors to a new colorway, there's a lot to love about the Apple Watch Ultra 2, so let's dive right into everything you need to know about it.
Apple Watch Ultra 2: Pricing and availability
Similar to the original model, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 starts at $799, so it's definitely one of the most expensive smartwatches you can buy. It's aimed at a more specific, outdoorsy demographic than the regular Apple Watch, so this makes sense.
1.92-inch Retina (502x410), up to 3,000 nits
32GB (not expandable)
LTE and UMTS
What's new in the Apple Watch Ultra 2?
The Apple S9 processor
The first notable upgrade with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is on the inside. As you might have expected, the smartwatch comes with a new Apple S9 processor, and it promises quite a bit more performance over the previous generation. It has 60% more transistors than the S8 (for a total of 5.6 billion), and it promises up to 30% faster GPU performance.
The big deal here, though, is the new quad-core neural engine, which can process machine learning tasks faster, which in turn enables Siri to run completely on-device with faster responses and more accurate dictation. Now, you can use Siri even when you're not connected to the internet.
Another "new" feature in the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is called double tap, which lets you control your watch using only your watch hand by tapping your fingers together twice. This triggers the main action in an app, such as hanging up a call or playing and pausing music. It can also be used on the watch face to scroll down your Smart Stack, so you can see important information from your apps using only one hand.
However, the feature isn't exactly new. Something similar was available as an accessibility feature in previous Apple Watch models, but with the enhanced neural engine in the Apple Watch Ultra 2 (and Series 9), it can now detect the double tap gesture faster and more accurately, making this useful for just about anybody.
The double tap won't be available at launch, but it will be hitting smartwatches in a software update starting in October.
Also new in the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the new U2 chip for ultra-wideband communication. This new chip enables a feature called Precision Finding, allowing you to more easily find devices that also have the U2 chip, such as an iPhone 15. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 can give you precise directions towards your phone, and when you get closer, it can even use audio and haptic signals to make it even easier to locate.
A brighter screen and a new watch face
While the display is mostly the same as last year, the new model comes with much higher brightness. Now, the Apple Watch Ultra 2's display goes up to 3,000 nits, 50% brighter than its predecessor. And it's the brightest display Apple has ever made.
And making use of that large screen is the new Modular Ultra watch face, which uses the edges of the display to show real-time data like altitude and depth, or even the current time in seconds. It also supports the most complications of any watch face on the Apple Watch, so you can see a ton of information at once.
Another notable difference with the Apple Watch Ultra 2, though not an exclusive one, is that it comes with watchOS 10. Most modern Apple Watch models will receive this update, but the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will come with it out of the box, and with it comes a few new features.
watchOS 10 has gotten a visual overhaul for many of the built-in apps, switching from a lot of black backgrounds with plain text to more colorful and intricate designs that feel more lively. This also adds features like the Smart Stack, so you can quickly see information below your watch face by scrolling down, and the ability to mirror workout information to your iPhone in real time.
A carbon-neutral design
Much like the Series 9, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is also making strides in sustainability, and both are the first Apple Watch models to be labeled as carbon neutral. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 uses 95% recycled titanium for the case and 100% recycled cobalt for the battery. Together with new carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions that still exist, Apple claims these products effectively have no carbon footprint on the planet. However, this only applies when the watch is paired with the Trail Loop and Alpine Loop bands, which are made from 30% recycled content.
Additionally, Apple has also stopped using leather entirely across its portfolio, so you won't see any leather bands this time due to their carbon footprint. Instead, premium watch bands use a new FineWoven material, which uses 68% post-consumer recycled content.
Is the Apple Watch Ultra 2 worth the upgrade?
Overall, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 comes with some notable improvements, whether it's the faster performance with support for features like Double Tap, a brighter screen, or the new Precision Finding feature. However, most of these are also available on the Apple Watch Series 9, and $799 is a lot of money. Whether it's justified mostly depends on your use case, but this is likely more interesting if you don't already have the original Apple Watch Ultra. If that sounds like you, you can buy it below.
Apple Watch Ultra 2
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the latest top-tier smartwatch from Apple, powered by the S9 chipset and featuring a super-bright display up to 3,000 nits. It's also durable and sustainably designed, with 95% recycled titanium.