Apple Watch Ultra: bells and whistles galore

The ultimate smartwatch for the outdoorsman? Under the sea or up in the mountains, the Watch Ultra seems to cover all bases.

by Justin Choo

Jony Ive, look away now. The Apple Watch Ultra is arguably the most distinctly different Apple product in recent years.

It’s not quite the G-Shock of the Apple Watch lineup, but it certainly has those leanings. The 49mm case is significantly larger than the regular Apple Watch, but understandably so–it sports a titanium case and has been toughened up to manage a water resistance rating of 100 metres, and supports diving up to 40 metres. It can also survive extreme cold and heat ranging from -20° C to 55° C and is tested to comply with MIL-STD-810H (relevant tests). Deserts or mountains? Check.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

The larger case also means there’s room for a large battery, and Apple duly obliged. As a result, the Watch Ultra is also the longest-lasting Apple Watch with a battery life of up to 36 hours when used normally (linked to iPhone) and up to 60 hours via a new low-power setting. Three new purpose-built bands–Trail Loop, Alpine Loop, and Ocean Band–covers the needs of runners, explorers, water sportspeople and divers.

This is a pragmatic watch alright, and even the sapphire front crystal has been flattened to run flush with the bezel to reduce instances of chipping. The Retina display is also rated for up to 2000 nits, matching the iPhone 14 Pro, which helps improve visibility under the glare of the sun. The built-in speaker is even able to let off an 86-decibel siren in emergencies with two unique sound signatures to choose from.

For enthusiasts that need more

The Watch Ultra is also packed with features for those who push themselves beyond the norm. Dual frequency L1 and L5 (new frequency) GPS coupled with new positioning algorithms improve accuracy enough for athletes to use route data and training numbers for training regimens. The new Compass app offers a hybrid analogue and digital view and can be used to mark locations and points of interest directly (Compass Waypoints). It can also help you retrace your steps (Backtrack).

Also new on the software side of things is a new Depth app that can be instantly launched to give you at-a-glance information such as current depth, water temperature, duration underwater, and max depth reached. The Oceanic+ app, designed in partnership with Huish Outdoors, will launch later this year and it turns the Watch Ultra into a veritable dive computer; it runs the Bühlmann decompression algorithm and provides users requisite features like dive planning, metrics and alerts, no-decompression limit and ascent rate, just to name a few.

The Apple Watch Ultra is available to order at $1,199 and will be available on September 23, 2022.

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