everything we know about Apple’s future high-end “Ultra” watch

After a first model launched last year, Apple could launch an Apple Watch Ultra in the fall of 2023. Before its official presentation, we take stock of the rumors.

In 2022, Apple inaugurated a new range for its connected watches. After the Apple Watch Series and the SE models, the American manufacturer launched the Apple Watch Ultra, a particularly high-end connected watch, launched at 999 euros and available only in the 49 mm version. Focusing above all on autonomy and sports performance, it could be entitled to a successor this year with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 – or Apple Watch Ultra (2023).

Until the presentation of this new connected watch, whose announcement could take place during the month of September, we take stock of all the rumors about the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

A second Apple Watch Ultra planned this year

The first to have drawn about the announcement of a new Apple Watch Ultra is none other than the journalist Mark Gurman of the agency Bloomberg. At the end of June, he indeed indicated, in his newsletter power-on that Apple will announce in the fall not only new iPhones, but also “two models of Apple Watch Series 9 and an updated version of the Ultra (the watches are known under the code names N207, N208 and N210 )”.

The Apple Watch Ultra for illustration

During the summer, new information may have suggested that Apple would indeed prepare a new Apple Watch Ultra this year.

A similarly designed Apple Watch Ultra 2

The first Apple Watch Ultra of the name distinguished itself from the Apple Watch Series 8 by its much more massive format. It must be said that if the Series 8 was available in 41 and 45 mm versions, the Apple Watch Ultra was only displayed in the 49 mm version. In addition to its much larger format, the watch also benefited from a second physical button called ” action-button“. The case was also made of titanium with sapphire crystal for screen protection, against aluminum or steel and Ion-X glass or sapphire crystal for the Apple Watch Series 8.

It is precisely this adventurous aspect of the first generation Apple Watch Ultra and it seems likely that the manufacturer will persist in this choice for its second generation. However, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is expected to come with a few changes, especially to the case design.

In mid-July, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from TF International Securities revealed that Apple would have chosen 3D printing for certain elements of the titanium case of its new watch: “Apple is actively adopting 3D printing technology and the titanium mechanical parts of the Apple Watch Ultra, scheduled for the second half of 2023, will be 3D printed“. This difference should not change anything for consumers, but would allow Apple to reduce the cost of producing its watches.

Another avenue for improvement for Apple could be to offer more colors for its next watch. The first version was only available in a silver version, with three default bracelet choices. If nothing suggests it for the moment, however, we can hope that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be available in several colors, like the Series 8, offered in black, gold, silver or red.

A new watchOS 10 interface on the 2nd generation Apple Watch Ultra

Like every year, and with each new generation of connected watch, the new Apple Watch Ultra 2 should benefit from a major update of watchOS, the operating system fitted to Apple’s connected watches.

The Apple Watch Ultra for illustration

This year, watchOS 10 will land on the manufacturer’s watches, a version already largely presented at Apple’s WWDC conference last June. Among the new features presented, the manufacturer is counting in particular on the integration of cards on the home dial. Like widgets on the iPhone, they allow you to discover certain information at a glance and quickly scroll through it. This “smart stackwill also be updated according to different criteria and your habits. Another novelty is the arrival of new training measures for cyclists with, in particular, the management of the power threshold (FTP). Also for hiking, watchOS 10 will integrate a new compass dial with 3D topography display. A function that could prove particularly useful for the Watch Ultra 2 and its orientation towards outdoor sports.

What's new in watchOS 10

Beyond the software, the components should also be improved with the integration of a new generation chip, integrated on both the Watch Ultra and the Watch Series 9. As a reminder, each new generation of Apple Watch brings its new chip and, after last year’s Apple S8 chip, we should logically be entitled to an Apple S9 chip on the new versions.

This chip would however be special since, according to information from journalist Mark Gurman, Apple would have adapted not a watch processor, but a smartphone processor. The Apple S9 would indeed be based on the Apple A15 Bionic chip of the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro. Enough to allow, in theory, a big gain in terms of performance, even better energy efficiency. As a reminder, this chip benefited from a 5 nm etching process.

A still Oled screen for the Apple Watch Ultra 2

For months, one of the main rumors about the next generations of Apple Watch Ultra has been about their display technology. While the first model incorporated an Oled screen, Apple would work hard to integrate a MicroLED screen on its future Apple Watch Ultra.

A Samsung MicroLED panel for illustration

It was actually analyst Jeff Pu who came out of the woodwork last January, announcing that Apple would develop an Apple Watch Ultra with a MicroLED display with a slightly larger diagonal, going from 1.9 to 2, 1 inch. As a reminder, microLED technology retains the same advantages as Oled, namely an infinite contrast ratio and a wide color range, but without its flaws. The screens can thus achieve even higher brightness levels and a much longer lifespan, without the risk of marking.

Finally, if Apple seems to be working well on this type of panel internally – in particular by doing without Samsung – the technology does not seem to be ready yet. The Korean siteThe Electric, generally very well informed about the production lines, indicates that Apple is encountering major problems and a far too high error rate in the manufacture of its panels. What postpone the launch of this type of screen not to 2024, but potentially for the Apple Watch Ultra of 2025.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic benefits from a screen as bright as the Apple Watch Ultra

Until then, for the Apple Watch Ultra 2 of 2023, we can therefore expect a screen similar to that of the first generation. As a reminder, the watch still had an excellent quality screen, since it was the first for a connected watch to be able to go up to a brightness of 2000 cd / m². A brightness rate now also achieved by Samsung with its Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.

Apple Watch Ultra 2023 price and release date

To find out when the second generation Apple Watch Ultra will be announced, all you have to do is know when the next iPhone 15 will be announced.

Like every year, we can count, without taking too much risk, on an announcement of the new Apple Watch during the month of September. The Apple Watch 7 was thus presented on September 14, 2021 and the Apple Watch Series 8 on September 7, 2022. According to information from Mark Gurman, this year’s Apple keynote would be held “either September 12 or 13“. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 should then be available in the following weeks – last year, two weeks separated the announcement of the Apple Watch Ultra from its sale.

As for the expected price for this new generation, no information has leaked so far. Last year’s model having been launched at 999 euros, we can however assume, without taking too much risk, that the Apple Watch Ultra will be available at a similar price, if not a little higher. We would not be surprised at a price this time exceeding 1000 euros at launch.

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