Apple has introduced the Apple Watch Ultra 2, the successor to last year’s first-generation model in its smartwatch lineup. But what are the key differences between these two successive generations of smartwatches?
Apple Watch Ultra [GPS + Cellular 49mm] Titanium Case with Midnight Ocean Band, One Size (Renewed)
In 2023, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Ultra, featuring enhancements such as a more robust design with a titanium casing, an expansive and brighter display, added speakers and microphones, significantly extended battery life, and more. The first-generation Apple Watch Ultra is now no longer available from Apple, and its prices are gradually dropping among third-party sellers. As a result, potential buyers may be contemplating whether to go for the first-generation model, potentially saving some money, or opt for the latest Ultra 2.
Apple Watch Ultra [GPS + Cellular 49mm] Smart Watch w/Rugged Titanium Case & Green Alpine Loop Large. Fitness Tracker, Precision GPS, Action Button, Extra-Long Battery Life, Brighter Retina Display
While both Apple Watch Ultra models share the majority of their features, the decision between the two comes down to individual preferences and priorities. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the differences the Ultra 2 brings to the table compared to its predecessor:
Apple Watch Ultra 2 [GPS + Cellular 49mm] Smartwatch with Rugged Titanium Case & Blue/Black Trail Loop M/L. Fitness Tracker, Precision GPS, Action Button, Extra-Long Battery Life, Carbon Neutral
Apple Watch Ultra (first-generation) vs. Apple Watch Ultra 2:
- Display Brightness: The Ultra 2 boasts a Retina display with up to 3,000 nits of brightness, making it Apple’s brightest display ever, whereas the first-generation Ultra offers up to 2,000 nits.
- Flashlight Boost: The Ultra 2 introduces a flashlight boost feature via the Digital Crown, enhancing its versatility.
- Double Tap Gesture: Both models support the Double Tap gesture for various functions, but the Ultra 2 adds the capability to stop timers, control music playback, snooze alarms, answer and end phone calls, take photos using the Camera Remote, access the Smart Stack, and navigate through widgets, all without touching the display.
- Processor: The Ultra 2 comes equipped with the S9 chip, based on the A15 Bionic chip architecture, offering 60% more transistors and 30% faster performance than the S8 chip in the first-generation Ultra.
- Neural Engine: The Ultra 2 boasts a 4-core Neural Engine, potentially delivering twice the speed compared to its predecessor.
- Siri Processing: Siri on the Ultra 2 is processed on-device for requests that don’t require internet data, resulting in faster and more reliable responses. Additionally, Siri can access health and fitness data.
- Dictation Accuracy: The Ultra 2 offers 25% more accurate dictation, improving the voice input experience.
- Ultra Wideband Chip: While the first-generation Ultra features a first-generation Ultra Wideband chip, the Ultra 2 steps up with a second-generation Ultra Wideband chip.
- Precision Finding: The Ultra 2 supports Precision Finding for iPhone 15 models, providing detailed distance and direction guidance, along with visual, haptic, and audio cues to help locate a misplaced iPhone.
- HomePod Integration: When within four meters of a playing HomePod, the Ultra 2 activates Now Playing for playback control. If no media is playing, it suggests media options at the top of the Smart Stack.
- Storage: The Ultra 2 doubles the storage capacity compared to the first-generation Ultra, offering a generous 64GB of storage.
Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 45mm] Smart Watch w/Midnight Aluminum Case with Midnight Sport Band - S/M. Fitness Tracker, Blood Oxygen & ECG Apps, Always-On Retina Display, Water Resistant
In summary, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 represents a modest upgrade over its predecessor. While the S9 chip, Double Tap gesture, and Precision Finding for iPhone 15 models are notable improvements, it may not be compelling enough for most existing Ultra users to justify an upgrade.
Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 40MM) Silver Aluminum Case with White Sport Band (Renewed)
However, individuals who are transitioning from older Apple Watch models or those new to the Apple Watch ecosystem may find reasons to opt for the latest model, especially if they frequently use a HomePod, plan to acquire an iPhone 15 model to leverage Precision Finding, require additional storage for downloaded content, or find the Double Tap gesture for one-handed use advantageous.
Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) (GPS + Cellular, 44mm) - Midnight Aluminum Case with Midnight Sport Band, M/L (Renewed)
For potential buyers, the decision between the two models hinges on their specific needs and preferences. If you can find the first-generation Ultra at a significantly lower price, it remains a viable and cost-effective choice. The Ultra 2 is priced at $799, so if you’re not particularly interested in its new features and spot a first-generation model for around $650 or less, it might be a worthwhile purchase.