Apple Watch Ultra 2 arrives with new S9 SiP, on-device Siri, double-tap gestures, and whopping 3,000 nits brightness
Apple unveiled the Watch Ultra 2 today during its Wanderlust event alongside the Watch Series 9 and the iPhone 15 series. Just like the Apple Watch Series 9, the Watch Ultra 2 focuses on internal upgrades while looking exactly like its predecessor on the outside.
Inside, we get to see a new S9 system in package (SiP) with a four-core neural engine along with a 2nd gen ultra-wideband (UWB) chip. The S9 SiP enables on-device language processing with Siri and a new double-tap gesture. On-device language processing with Siri does not require the internet for local commands such as starting a timer or a workout, which can be quite useful while traversing terrain with limited connectivity. Apple seems confident that the Watch Ultra 2 can work in a range of conditions from as low as 500 m below sea level to as high as 9,000 m.
According to Apple, the double-tap gesture allows users to control the Apple Watch Ultra 2 just by tapping the index finger and thumb of the watch hand to perform actions such as answering or dismissing calls, play and pause songs, bringing up the Smart Stack, and more.
Apple says that the Watch Ultra 2 makes use of the S9's new neural engine and a host of other sensor data to recognize the double-tap. This means that this feature cannot be backported to older Apple Watches. It remains to be seen how this double-tap gesture is different from the already available hand gesture accessibility feature in watchOS.
The Watch Ultra 2 also sports a new display whose brightness can go from just one nit in dark areas to a whopping 3,000 nits in harsh sunlight. Additionally, this brighter display can also double up as a more capable flashlight.
Other features include a new modular watch face that expands till the outer edge of the screen, an updated Oceanic+ app that now supports freediving metrics, and precision finding of the new iPhone 15 with the UWB chip.
Apple claims a 36-hour battery life in regular use and up to 72 hours in low power mode with the Watch Ultra 2. This is the same as the original Watch Ultra, which was ridiculed by Garmin. The Watch Ultra 2 runs watchOS 10 out of the box.
The 49 mm Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be available for US$799 from September 22 with pre-orders starting today. Strap options include blue, indigo, and olive Alpine Loops, orange/beige, green/gray, blue/black Trail Loops, and blue and orange Ocean Bands.
Apple Wanderlust Keynote