Apple has introduced a new Apple Watch dubbed Ultra, which is intended for more rigorous outdoor activities than ordinary Apple Watches can handle.
The case is composed of titanium and rises up to encircle the entirely flat sapphire crystal screen (as found on iPhone cameras). This should assist to protect the screen of the Watch Ultra from harm while rock climbing.
The display, which measures 49mm across (1.93 inches) and is capable of 2000 nits, is twice as bright as any prior Apple wearable. Even in full sunlight, this should assist you see which way to go.
There’s also a new orange button – the action button. This does (nearly) everything you want it to do. You can, for example, use it to place a waypoint along your journey so you can find your way back afterwards.
A dual-frequency GPS that supports L1 and L5 frequencies is available. It has the most precise GPS in an Apple Watch yet, thanks to improved positioning algorithms. However, if you become lost or in extreme distress, there is an 86dB siren that can notify rescue teams to your location.
The crown and side buttons have been redesigned to be more visible and usable while wearing gloves. In terms of gloves, the Ultra has been tested to work in temperatures ranging from -4° F (-20° C) to 131° F (55° C). It’s also military-spec certified for low pressure (altitude), temperature shock, fluid contamination, humidity, sand and dust, freeze/thaw, freezing rain, and stress and vibration.
Apple has added a second speaker for increased volume, as well as three microphones so those you call can hear you better.
You can call because all Ultras include built-in cellular connectivity. However, the rumored satellite communications aren’t present, so you’ll still need to be close to civilisation to receive a phone signal.
The Ultra boasts a larger battery than a conventional Apple Watch, which can provide up to 36 hours of ‘typical’ use, according to one report that proved to be true. If you won’t be able to charge it for so long, there’s a power-saving option that extends that to 60 hours at the expense of lower-frequency GPS updates and heart rate readings.
The Wayfinder face was created to take advantage of the larger screen. A compass is integrated into the dial, and there is room for eight complications. It also has a night mode that makes the display red to make it easier to read the face in the dark. It is activated by just twisting the crown.
Apple claims that you can wear your Watch Ultra for “recreational diving” up to 40m / 130 ft. It also contains a new depth gauge that works with a new Depth app to display the current depth, water temperature, time spent under water, and maximum depth attained.
It also incorporates all of the standard Apple Watch capabilities, such as ECG and blood oxygen monitoring, as well as the Series 8’s new body temperature sensor, which is designed to more accurately track women’s cycles, and motion sensors for identifying when you’ve been in a vehicle accident (and automatically calls the emergency services for you). The Series 8 uses the same chip for processing power.
The Watch Ultra is equipped with watchOS 9, which has a new compass app with three views. The first is a hybrid that displays an analogue and digital compass, but the second displays your latitude, longitude, elevation, and incline, and the third is a ‘orienteering view’ that displays waypoints and Backtrack.
The latter employs GPS to trace your path to your current location, allowing you to return the same way you came if you become bewildered.