- The Apple Watch Ultra came to the market in September 2022 as one of the best fitness-focused sports wearables. It is an ideal model for people who participate in extreme outdoor activities like scuba diving, mountaineering, professional athletics, and workouts, among others.
- Apple used aerospace-grade titanium to achieve sufficient ruggedness without making the Apple Watch Ultra too heavy for the wrist. It is durable, corrosive resistant, and most importantly, lightweight.
- The Action Button has made accessing the apps on the Apple Watch easier, especially when you are on the move or have gloves on and cannot operate the touchscreen.
- The Apple Watch Ultra is the first watch in the series built purposefully for water sports, such as wakeboarding, kitesurfing, and diving. It has a WR100 rating, which means it has a water resistance of up to 100m, or 330 feet.
The Apple Watch Ultra came to the market as one of the best fitness-focused sports wearables. It is an ideal model for people who participate in extreme outdoor activities like scuba diving, mountaineering, professional athletics, and workouts, among others.
Nonetheless, it is still a great option if you’re looking for a durable Apple Watch with more battery power, LTE connectivity capabilities, and better audio and voice control. It comes with all the features of the Apple Watch Series 8 and several additional features to justify its premium price and size.
Let’s walk through all the Apple Watch Ultra‘s new features!
New Features Only Found in the Apple Watch Ultra
Below are the noteworthy features that this rugged model brings to the table.
1. Brighter, Larger Display
The Apple Watch Ultra features a retina display upgraded to offer a 410 x 502p resolution and a brightness of up to 2,000 nits. Consequently, it is twice as bright as the Series 8 and the brightest Apple Watch so far.
It also sports a 49mm display, 4mm bigger than the largest Series 8 model.
2. Unique Design
Apple used aerospace-grade titanium to achieve sufficient ruggedness without making the Ultra too heavy for the wrist. It is durable, corrosive resistant, and most importantly, lightweight.
Unfortunately, the Ultra is only available in a silver titanium shade. However, you can choose the color of the watch band from three options: a nylon Trail Loop, a textile Alpine Loop, and an elastomer Ocean Band.
The Ultra’s side button protrudes slightly outside the titanium casing, making it easy to operate when wearing gloves or having wet or greasy fingers
3. Action Button
Another impressive hardware feature that you will only find on the Apple Watch Ultra is the Action button.
It is flush with the case but has an indentation for an easy feel. This button has made accessing the apps on the Apple Watch easier, especially when you are on the move or have gloves on and cannot operate the touchscreen. Also, you can customize it to do things such as launch a stopwatch, add a Waypoint, and start your workout sessions, among others.
Even more impressive is that the Action button automatically changes its functionality based on the context. When it detects you are working out, it will function as a start-stop button, but when you are in the multisport mode, pressing it marks the transition from one race in the triathlon to another.
4. A New Watch Face
The Apple Watch Ultra features Apple’s latest watch face, the Wayfinder. It comes with an in-built compass that provides essential information to hikers, runners, and divers. It also has eight full-color watch face complications, including Astronomy, Metropolitan, and more.
To preserve your night vision, the Wayfinder comes with the Night Mode option that turns all the features on the watch face red.
5. Water Resistance
The Apple Watch Ultra is the first watch in the series built purposefully for water sports, such as wakeboarding, kitesurfing, and diving. It has a WR100 rating, which means it has a water resistance of up to 100m, or 330 feet.
It also sports a water pressure sensor and depth gauge linked to the new Depth app. This app displays the current depth, water temperature, maximum depth reached, and the duration spent underwater. You can start the Depth app manually or set it to start automatically when you reach 3 feet deep.
Apple has promised to introduce a more innovative Oceanic Plus app that will turn the watch into a dive computer.
6. Backtrack and Waypoints
Runners often risk getting lost in the woods when they go off the grid. The upgraded Compass app in the Apple Watch Ultra helps with this.
First, it offers three views: the hybrid screen, the technical screen, and the orienteering view. You just need to rotate the digital crown to toggle between the views.
The hybrid view has an analog and digital compass, while the technical view shows location details such as incline, elevation, and coordinates. The orienteering view is the most useful in the woods as it has Waypoint and Backtrack features.
You use the Waypoint to manually add points of interest on your track, such as turning points, meeting points, or locations with some feature of interest. The Backtrack is an automatic backup for the Waypoint. It uses GPS to track your path, making it easier to trace your steps in case you get lost. With the orienteering view, you can see your current location and how far you are from a given Waypoint.
7. Dual Frequency GPS
All Apple Watches besides the Ultra use L1 GPS frequency, which often fails when among tall obstacles such as buildings or trees.
To overcome this limitation, Apple added L5 frequency to the Ultra, making it possible to deliver accurate positioning even in areas with dense cover of tall trees or buildings. The Ultra also comes with an arrow that turns blue when you get a GPS lock — a feature lacking in the previous models.
8. Enhanced Microphones
The Apple Watch Ultra comes with LTE connectivity as a standard, which means you can use it to make calls without carrying your iPhone with you. However, you’re likely to encounter wind noise interruptions when running against the wind.
Apple has resolved this by adding three adaptive beamforming microphones and innovative noise reduction algorithms to the Apple Watch Ultra. This helps cut out background noise, making it easier to make uninterrupted calls while on the move.
Also, combining the three microphones and dual speakers has made voice control and Siri interactions using the Ultra seamless.
9. Emergency Siren
Another feature you only get on the Apple Watch Ultra is an 86-decibel emergency siren. It emits a universal SOS sound pattern to attract attention within a 600 feet radius. It can be a lifesaver in case the user falls or needs urgent help. You can turn it on by holding the side button, selecting it from the app list, or long-pressing the Action button.
10. Battery Life
For the first time, there is an Apple Watch with a battery worth writing home about. The battery on the Apple Watch Ultra offers 36 hours of regular use; all apps are on and running. You can get three full days if you skip the sleep-tracking functionality and have less rigorous workout sessions.
When you use the low-power mode, you can extend the battery life to 60 hours. Whatever you do, you will still get twice more battery life on the Ultra than you would get with the Apple Watch Series 8, which is the only other Apple watch with a low-power mode.
Other Shared Features
In addition to the above new features, the Apple Watch Ultra shares all the features, besides design, with the Series 8 watch. You can read the details in our Apple Watch Series 8 article, but below is a brief description.
Despite its many unique features, the Apple Watch Ultra runs on the same 64-bit dual-core S8 hip processor found in Apple Watch Series 6 and later models. Also, it has 32GB storage, just like series 5, 6, 7, and 8.
The Apple Watch Ultra has all the health apps and features that have made the Series 8 watch one of the best smartwatches for the health-conscious. They include:
- ECG app: This detects heartbeat and heart rhythm. As such, the app can reveal signs of atrial fibrillation. It is FDA-cleared, making the reports acceptable to local and international health workers.
- Blood oxygen app: It determines if the blood oxygen level goes below the healthy 95%, which may call for medical attention.
- Sleep-Tracking: Monitors sleep patterns and can tell the duration spent in REM, core, and deep sleep, as well as how often you woke up at night. However, the large size of the Apple Watch Ultra makes it less comfortable to sleep with.
- Fall detection: This detects when a person has fallen and is rendered immobile, then contacts emergency services and the emergency contacts on the user’s contact list.
- Crash detection: It is an upgrade available only on the Ultra and Series 8 Apple Watch devices. It can detect a severe crash, and, like in fall detection, calls emergency services, and sends details of the location of the crash.
- Cycle tracking: It uses temperature sensors and data from two consecutive menstrual cycles to predict when the next menstrual cycle should begin and the possible days of ovulation. The information is helpful for women who need to monitor their fertility, conceive, or avoid pregnancy. Irregular cycles could also be signs of other reproductive health issues that might require early attention.
Workout Efficiency Features
Like other Apple Watches that come with the WatchOS 9, such as the Series 8 and the SE (2022), the Apple Watch Ultra has features to help you improve your workout efficiency.
These features include:
- A multisport mode: This helps track switches between workout sessions, or when taking part in a triathlon, automatically detecting transitions from one race to another.
- Heart rate zones: This is a helpful feature for those who want to monitor their cardio fitness. It tracks the heart rate through workout sessions.
- Running form metrics: They include metrics such as ground contact time, vertical oscillation, and stride length. The data can help runners track their efficiency and figure out areas that need improvement.
Where to Buy
The Apple Watch Ultra meets the desires of those who need the functionality of the standard Apple Watches and the ruggedness of Garmin smartwatches in one package. Its price is quite high, but the features are top-tier if you don’t mind splurging.
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