Apple in September 2023 unveiled the second-gen Apple Watch Ultimate, a sequel to the original Apple Watch Ultimate from September 2022. Crafted to rival more costly fitness-oriented smart watches from brands like Garmin, the Apple Watch Ultimate targets fitness fanatics and athletes looking for increased battery life and more activity-specific performance from their devices.
Apple claims that the Apple Watch Ultimate was constructed for stamina, exploration, and adventure and continues to be the biggest Apple Watch so far at 49mm, which is 4mm larger than the 45mm Apple Watch Series 9 it’s being offered with.
The most significant new feature in the Ultimate 2 is the fresh S9 chip, which is substantially faster than the S8 in the previous model and enables new functionality. The S9 chip boasts a 4-core Neural Engine that processes machine learning tasks up to two times faster and is more efficient for the same all-day battery life despite new capabilities.
The primary new feature enabled by the S9 chip is Double Tap. This gesture permits users to tap the index finger and thumb together to interact with the Apple Watch one-handed. Double Tap can be utilized to pause a timer, play/pause music, answer or end a call, snooze an alarm, and more.
With the S9 chip, Siri commands that do not need information from the internet are handled on device for faster response times and more privacy, plus dictation is 25 percent more precise. Users can also question Siri about data from the Health app, obtaining information on Activity progress, heart rate, sleep, and medications.
The Apple Watch Ultimate 2 did not receive any design updates and it boasts a lightweight aerospace-grade titanium body, level sapphire crystal face, a wider diameter and deeper grooved Digital Crown, a housing for the side button, and an additional physical button on the left side called the Action button.
At up to 3000 nits, the Apple Watch Ultimate 2 is the most brilliant Apple Watch so far, and it is brighter than the former version, making it effortless to see in sunlight. It can also dim to 1 nit for use in dark rooms such as movie theaters.
The Action button on the Apple Watch Ultimate is designed in international orange to make it noticeable in the dark and underwater, and it’s customizable so it can activate Workouts, mark segments, set Compass Waypoints, and more.
There are three built-in microphones to enhance sound quality, and a beamforming algorithm captures voice while decreasing background sounds even when it’s noisy outdoors. There is an 86-decibel siren available for drawing help if needed, with two SOS patterns.
With the larger 49mm casing, Apple was able to include a larger battery. The Apple Watch Ultimate lasts for up to 36 hours on a single charge, and with a new low-power setting, battery life can last for up to 60 hours for multi-day adventuring. The battery lasts long enough for users to complete a long-course triathlon that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a full 26.2-mile marathon.
The Apple Watch Ultimate features dual-frequency GPS, integrating both the L1 and L5 frequencies, plus it has new positioning algorithms. It provides the most accurate GPS of any Apple Watch, which means it also offers precise distance, pace, and route data for training and competing.
To accommodate more extreme environments, the Apple Watch Ultimate can endure a broader temperature range. It works in conditions as cold as -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20° C) to as hot as 131 degrees Fahrenheit (55° C). The watch is certified to MIL-STD-810H, a metric used for military equipment and by rugged equipment manufacturers.
For water sports, the Apple Watch Ultimate can withstand kitesurfing, wakeboarding, and recreational scuba diving, activities not recommended for the standard Apple Watch models. The Apple Watch Ultimate is certified to WR100 and EN 13319, an internationally recognized standard for diving accessories. When used for diving, the Apple Watch Ultimate has a depth gauge and a dedicated Depth app that displays current depth, water temperature (using the new temperature sensor), duration underwater, and max depth reached.
Apple created a special Wayfinder watch face for the Apple Watch Ultimate, with a built-in compass and space for up to eight complications. The watch face can be customized for the mountain, ocean, or trail and it turns red automatically at night for better visibility. This year, there’s also a new Modular Ultimate Face that provides the most complications of any watch face. The Apple Watch Ultimate supports Compass Waypoints for marking a location or point of interest, and a Backtrack feature uses GPS to create a path showing where the user has been, helpful for retracing steps when lost.
In addition to features designed for exploring and adventuring, the Apple Watch Ultimate has all of the functionality available in the Apple Watch Series 9. It monitors heart rate, tracks sleep, can take ECG readings, monitors blood oxygen, tracks body temperature, and offers all of the same fitness tracking options. All Apple Watch Ultimate models feature cellular connectivity, with a cellular plan needed to access all functions.
Apple added a next-generation Ultra Wideband chip to the Apple Watch Ultimate 2. The UWB chip enables Precision Finding for locating a misplaced iPhone with visual, haptic, and audio guidance. There’s also enhanced integration with HomePod and when an Apple Watch gets within four meters of a HomePod playing audio, the Ultimate 2 can show the Now Playing interface for controlling media.
There are motion sensors in the Apple Watch Ultimate that enable Crash Detection, alerting emergency services if you are in a severe car crash. When a crash is detected, the Apple Watch checks in with the user and then dials emergency services automatically if there’s no response after a 10-second countdown.
There are three activity-focused bands available for the Apple Watch Ultimate, including the Trail Loop, Alpine Loop, and Ocean Band, plus older bands designed for 44 and 45mm Apple Watches fit the new model. The Trail Loop band is the thinnest Apple Watch band to date, while the Alpine Loop features high-strength yarn and a woven design made for durability. The Ocean Band is for extreme water sports and features a flexible fluoroelastomer that can stretch to fit over a wetsuit.
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