If The Godfather: Part II has taught us one thing, it would be that a sequel could be both critically and financially successful. When Apple introduced the first Watch Ultra last year, there was a sizeable crowd that wanted to play the wait-and-watch game because second-generation technology always aims for a certain degree of maturity. And that’s what you get on Apple Watch Ultra 2.
The changes are mostly on the inside… and there’s a lot to talk about. Here is our first look at Watch Ultra 2 and what it has to offer vis-a-vis last year’s Watch Ultra.
Brighter than a summer’s day
One of the big updates on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the bright screen, hitting a peak brightness of 3,000 nits or 50 per cent brighter than the first generation model. Don’t get me wrong, the first generation Ultra was very bright but this time, it’s taking the battle to the sun. You can be on top of a mountain or easing into a chair outside a cafe, you will be able to read the screen very well. It also means the flashlight on the Watch is way brighter than before, especially when you dial up using the Digital Crown. In other words, if you are stuck outside, under extremely bad lighting, the flashlight can see you through. At the same time, the display can go down to one nit of brightness so as not to disturb people close by.
The biggest update is the chipset, which is S9 SiP
The casing continues to be 49mm, like on the first Ultra. What is new — and laudable —is the fact that the Watch Ultra 2, paired with an Alpine Loop or Trail Loop, features 95 per cent recycled titanium, compared with no recycled titanium in the first Apple Watch Ultra. There is a new logo on the Ultra 2 packaging that indicates models that are carbon neutral.
The biggest update is the chipset, which is S9 SiP. It is the same as on the Apple Watch Series 9. There are improvements to Siri in the form of on-device processing; it doesn’t need to be connected to any form of Wi-Fi in order to process commands. There is also improvement in voice-to-text dictation. You can also log certain health aspects using Siri. You can ask Siri as to how much sleep you got last night and the answer will come in the blink of an eye. There is a four-core Neural Engine that can process machine learning tasks up to twice as fast as the original Apple Watch Ultra.
Apple Watch Ultra 2 (right) features 95 per cent recycled titanium, compared to no recycled titanium in the first Apple Watch Ultra
Double tap, thanks to the processor
You have heard about this — tap the index finger and thumb of your watch hand together twice to make the device perform a function. There are already several Assistive Touch or accessibility-focussed gestures. This function is different from what you get with Assistive Touch. When you are walking the dog or carrying grocery bags, one hand is often occupied, making it difficult to access the smartwatch. Double touch comes into play. For example, you can raise your wrist to read the time and you then double-tap to bring up the smart stack of widgets. You can, for example, start-stop calls. It uses the accelerometer, gyroscope and heart rate sensor to make double tap possible.
New watch face
Called Modular Ultra, the watch face takes up more of the screen around the edges with things like altitude, depth information and seconds. You can add a bunch of complications to the watch face yet it won’t look cramped.
The Action Button is once again in place
The best you can get on an Apple Watch — 36 hours on a single charge and 72 hours in low-power mode. You can always push that by tweaking the brightness, and so on.
The ability to use Apple Watch to find iPhone is a great feature to have. The S9 SiP includes a second-generation Ultra Wideband chip to enable Precision Finding for the iPhone 15 family, which has the same chip. Precision Finding provides distance and direction, as well as visual, haptic, and audio guidance to a misplaced iPhone.
To reduce impact on the planet, Apple will no longer use leather across all of its product lines, including iPhone accessories and Apple Watch bands. The company is replacing leather with a new textile called FineWoven, a durable twill made from 68 per cent post-consumer recycled content. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 strap has a soft, suede-like feel.
At a glance
Device: Apple Watch Ultra 2
Price: Rs 89,900
Availability: In stores beginning September 22