Apple Watch Ultra 2 is far brighter in more ways than one

Apple Watch Ultra 2

As part of the Wonderlust event overnight, Apple announced the new Apple Watch Ultra 2, alongside the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro models, and updated USB-C AirPods Pro 2nd Gen.

At a glance, the new wearable expands upon the original Ultra’s offering with a brighter screen and new functionality off the back of the watchOS 10 platform. On the inside is the new S9 SiP, a chip that powers the Ultra 2’s increased functionality and performance. According to Apple, the added 4-core Neural Engine processes machine learning tasks at a speed up to twice as fast as the first Apple Watch Ultra.

“This year we’ve made our most rugged and capable Apple Watch even better,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said. “Apple Watch Ultra 2 is our most advanced Apple Watch, with great performance and feature updates. It’s perfect for anyone who wants our biggest, brightest display, longest battery life, and best GPS of any Apple Watch, all in a stunning design.”

Touch-free double tap

To anyone well-versed in social media, double tapping is one of the more natural gestures enabled by smart devices. Now, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 introduces a double tap gesture to the wearable form factor. However, it’s a little different to the gesture you’re used to when scrolling on your phone. With Apple’s new watch, you pinch your watch-wearing hand’s index finger and thumb together, unlocking various features without even lifting a finger – literally.

By using the gesture, you can quickly access widgets and various actions without even touching the display. You can double tap to stop timers, play or pause music, and more, which could come in handy in the middle or at the end of a workout when your hands are sweaty. Due to be added in a software update next month, the gesture is a direct result of the Apple Watch Ultra 2’s Neural Engine and machine learning algorithm.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 double tap

WatchOS 10 is due to launch by the end of the week, which also adds a lot of new features, including significant improvements to cycling and hiking. Highly durable, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is also made for divers and anyone who’s involved with underwater activities.

Before starting any activity or workout, the Ultra 2 processes Siri requests on-device. Due to the fact that it doesn’t require any external connectivity, there’s less delay between requests and the action taking place. Plus, the Neural Engine improves the quality and accuracy of dictation, meaning less hassle getting Siri to understand your requests.

Phenomenally bright

Considering the Apple Watch Ultra 2 can be used up to 100 metres underwater and at high altitudes, you’d want to be able to read the watch face in all sorts of conditions. Fortunately, the watch’s display now reaches a peak brightness of 3000 nits, up from its predecessor’s 2000 nits – which is massively bright from any perspective. That’s also brighter than the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, which matched the original Ultra’s 2000 nits.

Taking advantage of the brighter display is the Modular Ultra watch face, designed specifically for the new wearable. You can customise it to show all sorts of data, including real-time readings around the edges like altitude and depth.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 price, release date, colours

That just scratches the surface of what the new all-terrain smartwatch can do. Costing $1,399, the new high-end wearable from Apple is out on 22 September 2023, with pre-orders open now. It comes in a 49mm size in addition to several new band colours. The Alpine Loop has blue, indigo and olive colours, while the Trail Loop comes in orange/beige, green/grey and blue/black, with the Ocean Band available in blue or orange.

Apple says that any Apple Watch Ultra 2 purchase with a new Trail Loop or Alpine Loop is carbon neutral, with the bands made from more than 30% recycled materials. It’s all part of Apple’s push to make all of its devices carbon neutral by 2030.

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