When I looked at the original Apple Watch Ultra, I tried to approach the task in a slightly different way, instead seeing it as a kind of Apple Watch Pro, a luxury product that undoubtedly offered very special and very specific features, but at the same time an Apple Watch where every major aspect, from brightness to battery size, was slightly better.
Since then, I’ve learned a bit more and experienced first-hand what it’s like to feel encouraged to use a smartwatch in multiple ways, as you simultaneously rely on its water resistance, the readings it can give you, and its battery life . Below you can see me using my Apple Watch Ultra at Preikestolen in Norway and on a skiing holiday where I fell in love with an app called Slopes.
There’s now a new Apple Watch Ultra (Series 2) on the market, and while I haven’t yet had the chance to test it on the same cross-country terrain as the previous generation, it’s worth mentioning again that Apple managed is the success to repeat and the best Apple Watch Pro ever.
This is an ad:
But it is difficult to recognize at first glance, there is no doubt about that. The case itself is untouched, except that Apple is now offering it in another alternate color, but which I immediately think will be abandoned in favor of the good old Titanium variant.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the saying goes, and that’s true here too, but this is probably the only time Apple can reuse the same frame without slimming down the watch case without sacrificing for example the battery size. Inside we find the new S9 SiP, a chipset that enables the new “double tap” feature released via WatchOS 10.1, where pressing your thumb and index finger together twice can activate a number of system functions. Let me be as clear as possible – it works brilliantly and points to the same functionality in the upcoming Vision Pro headset.
The new chip also makes it possible to enable Precision Finding, as you may recognize it from an AirTag. Instead of “just” pinging your phone with a sound, the watch can intelligently guide you to your phone with direction and meters. In addition, there is a new, brighter screen that can reach 3000 NITS, the same battery life of 36 hours (several days with Battery Saver on), new features for cyclists and a better GPS.
This is an ad:
But like regular Apple Watch upgrades every year, it’s few and far between, there’s no way around it. That’s not to say they aren’t important upgrades in that way – a brighter screen, Double Tap and some extensions to the watch’s training and diving functionality are meaningful additions to a watch that got off to a pretty good start last year. But in case it wasn’t clear, I’ll emphasize it here; If you already have a Watch Ultra from last year, you don’t need it.
But if you’ve been waiting patiently to jump on the bandwagon, now is an opportune time. The Apple Watch Ultra represents Apple building the best smartwatch they can, and when you press the action button (which also has Shortcuts functionality), use the watch in night mode, or track fairly accurate workouts or outdoor rides, it’s something special. It’s still expensive, but I’ve never been as satisfied with the overall smartwatch experience as I am here.