Apple Watch Ultra: 10 New and Noteworthy Features

Apple on Wednesday unveiled the new Apple Watch Ultra, a larger, more advanced smartwatch aimed at athletes, explorers, and swimmers. The ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ shares the same features as the new Apple Watch Series 8, but there is a whole lot more to the watch than meets the eye. Here are just some of the more notable differences that are worth highlighting.

apple watch ultra 1

Operating Temperatures Are Extreme

apple watch ultra snow
iPhones can get so hot or so cold that they can become non-functional, but the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is very unlikely to, even in the harshest of climes. Apple says the watch has been designed to accommodate the most extreme environments in outdoor exploration, with an on-wrist operating temperature from –4° to 131° F (–20° to 55° C).

Larger Display, More Complications

Apple Watch Ultra Yellow Beige Trail Loop Wayfinder face 220907 inline
Apple has created a new Wayfinder watch face that's been designed especially for the larger ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ display. It includes a compass built into the dial, and has space for up to eight complications on screen at the same time. The Wayfinder watch face can also be customized for mountain, ocean, or trail expeditions.

Customizable Action Button

Apple Watch Ultra Orange Alpine Loop Action button 220907 big
Where previous Apple Watch models have had just two physical controls, ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ has a third on the left side of the screen called the Action button, which is colored in "international orange" and can serve a range of functions.

As it's customizable, what the Action button does is up to the user, so one push can let you track race segments during a workout, find a way out when using Backtrack, drop a Compass Waypoint, or start up a dive computer, depending on your needs.

Brighter Screen

Apple Watch Ultra lifestyle adventure 220907 big
Under the flat sapphire front crystal is a Retina display that is not only the biggest yet on an Apple Watch, but it can also output contents at up to 2,000 nits, which is two times brighter than any other Apple Watch display.

Night Mode

Apple Watch Ultra Orange Alpine Loop Wayfinder face Night Mode 220907 inline
To optimize for evening conditions when using the Wayfinder watch face, a turn of the Digital Crown engages Night Mode, which turns the interface red and removes retina-altering blue light from the display to ease strain on your eyes in the dark.

Emergency Siren

ultra siren watch
If you ever become lost, injured, or have some other emergency situation and want to draw attention to your location, ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ includes an 86-decibel siren that can be enabled by holding the Action button.

Apple says the siren uses a unique sound signature that incorporates two distinct alternating patterns, which can repeat for several hours. The first pattern suggests distress, while the second mimics the universally recognized SOS pattern, and the siren can be heard up to 600 feet or 180 meters away.

Best-in-Class GPS Positioning

ultra watch gps
‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ uses a precision dual-frequency GPS that integrates both L1 and the latest frequency, L5. Apple says that in combination with new custom positioning algorithms, this provides users with the most accurate GPS of any smartwatch on the market, and should help trail runners and other athletes who often find themselves in amongst dense trees or high buildings.

Redesigned Compass App

compass utra
In watchOS 9, the Compass has been redesigned for ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ and now has three different views. The app displays a new hybrid view that simultaneously shows both an analog compass dial and a digital view, while turning the Digital Crown reveals an additional view that includes latitude, longitude, elevation, and incline, as well as an orienteering view showing Compass Waypoints and Backtrack.

Waypoint Marking and Backtrack

Apple Watch Ultra Green Alpine Loop Compass Waypoints 220907 inline
In the Compass app, you can press the Action button or tap the Compass Waypoint icon to drop a waypoint and mark the location you are in. Waypoints can be edited by tapping the icon, and the Compass Waypoint complication updates automatically in real time showing both the direction of the waypoint as well as its approximate distance.

Meanwhile, with the help of GPS, a new Backtrack function creates a path showing you where you've been, like a breadcrumb trail, which you can use if you get lost or disoriented and want to retrace your steps.

Water Temperature Sensor and Depth Gauge

depth gauge ultra watch
‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is certified to EN 13319, which is an internationally recognized standard for dive accessories, including depth gauges. The ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ even incorporates a depth gauge into a new Depth app, which can display time, current depth down to 40 meters, water temperature, duration under water, and max depth reached.

When underwater, the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ automatically opens the Depth app, making it quick and easy to get critical information without needing to open it manually. Alternatively, you can assign the Depth app to the Action button to launch it when needed.

Availability

apple watch ultra 2
The ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ costs $799 and was made available for pre-order after Wednesday's "Far out" event. It comes in a silver titanium casing and is available with three different bands: Trail, Alpine, and Ocean. The ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ will begin shipping to customers on Friday, September 23.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Ultra
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

saturn88 Avatar
3 weeks ago



The bezel is way too wide on Ultra. The display area on Ultra, according to Apple specs is 1164 sq mm vs 1143 sq mm on a regular Watch 8: basically the same size just ultra has bigger bezels. Shame
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Salty Pirate Avatar
3 weeks ago
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mdriftmeyer Avatar
3 weeks ago

I had to laugh.

Extreme temperatures as low as -4? In many parts of the USA, that's a fairly common winter Monday.
It means that it’s performance doesn’t degrade in such conditions. Your own body temperature would have to plummet to keep the phone from reaching below -4. Odds are you’re wearing a full length shirt, parka, etc at even lower temps.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsplusmacs Avatar
3 weeks ago
2,000 nits!

Take that stupid sun.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kjvmartin Avatar
3 weeks ago
I had to laugh.

Extreme temperatures as low as -4? In many parts of the USA, that's a fairly common winter Monday.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DrV Avatar
3 weeks ago

Area is a quadratic function. So the Ultra has 1164 - 1143 = 21 sq mm more area than the 8. Since the aspect ratio is roughly square, that means that the Ultra has roughly sqrt(21) = 4.6 mm more linear space in each direction. That’s more than an eighth of an inch.

Grab your ruler, and you’ll see that that’s a non-trivial length for something to go on your wrist.

Yes, it would be nice were the bezels as thin as on the 8 — whether because the case was smaller or the display area was bigger. I’m sure we’ll see that no later than mid-decade.

But the display itself actually is bigger, plus it’s got a much larger battery, plus it’s got the extra speakers and microphones, plus it’s got … well, an improved but not as much improved as you might have hoped for display seems a reasonable compromise for all the other leaps ahead in the Ultra.

Nobody’s yet commented on the substantial increase of thickness of this watch; that’s likely to be much more annoying day-to-day. But I’m hoping / expecting to be pleasantly surprised … by the numbers, my S4 would seem to be a behemoth, but it actually looks and feels like nothing. I’m guessing that, by the end of the second day of wearing the Ultra, it’ll feel perfectly natural.

b&
Back to Maths 101...

If you have a square with 1164 mm2 area, its side is 34.11 mm.
If you have a square with 1143 mm2 area, its side is 33.80 mm.

So, the difference is around 0.3 mm. Not very much, I'd say.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple watch ultra underwater

Apple Watch Ultra Can Check the Water Temperature As You Dive and Swim

Thursday September 8, 2022 4:15 am PDT by
The new Apple Watch Ultra features the ability to measure the temperature of the water as you're diving, swimming, and doing a range of other water sports thanks to new functionality, added durability, and a new Depth app pre-installed on the watch. The Apple Watch Ultra is the most rugged Apple Watch yet, with features and design elements explicitly designed for swimmers, divers, and...
siren depth apps

Apple Watch Ultra 'Depth' and 'Siren' Apps Appear on App Store Ahead of Device's Launch This Friday

Wednesday September 21, 2022 2:54 am PDT by
Apple has listed two new apps on the App Store that are made exclusively for the Apple Watch Ultra: "Siren" and "Depth." Siren is designed for emergency situations if users become lost or injured to draw attention to their location. When the Action button on Apple Watch Ultra is long-pressed, Siren emits a unique 86-decibel sound pattern which can be heard up to 600 feet (180 meters) away. ...
Apple Watch Ultra Pricing

Apple Watch Ultra Priced at $799, Available to Order Today Ahead of September 23 Launch

Wednesday September 7, 2022 10:42 am PDT by
The all-new Apple Watch Ultra unveiled today is available to pre-order starting today in the U.S., Canada, Australia, France, Germany, India, Japan, the U.K., and more than 40 other countries and regions around the world, with pricing set at $799. Apple Watch Ultra will launch in stores and begin arriving to customers on September 23. Inspired by the "most extreme activities," the Apple...
maxresdefault

Apple Watch Ultra Stands Up to Major Abuse in Latest Durability Test

Tuesday September 27, 2022 2:02 pm PDT by
Inspired by "the most extreme activities," the Apple Watch Ultra features a rugged design with a titanium case and a flat display with a sapphire crystal cover. Apple says the watch is built to help users "push their boundaries with adventure, endurance, and exploration." In his latest YouTube video, Sam Kohl assessed the Apple Watch Ultra's durability by subjecting the watch to some major...
depth gauge ultra watch

Apple Provides Deep Dive Into New Apple Watch Ultra Depth App

Thursday September 22, 2022 2:35 pm PDT by
With the official launch of the Apple Watch Ultra looming, Apple has shared a support document on the new Depth app that's exclusive to the device. The Depth app is designed to be used for recreational diving, providing information on water temperature, current depth, maximum depth, and more. The Apple Watch Ultra can be used for dives up to 40 meters deep (130 feet). Apple warns that the...
apple watch ultra 2 1

Apple Watch Ultra Unboxing and Hands-On

Friday September 23, 2022 12:26 pm PDT by
It's the official launch day for Apple's latest and greatest product, the Apple Watch Ultra. We picked up one of the new watches to check out the features and compare it with the Apple Watch Series 8 to see if it's worth the upgrade. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Apple Watch Ultra is Apple's largest watch to date, measuring in at 49mm, a full 4mm over the...
Apple Watch Ultra Pricing

Apple Unveils Apple Watch Ultra With Large-Screen Design for Athletes and Explorers

Wednesday September 7, 2022 10:26 am PDT by
Apple at its "Far Out" media event today announced the Apple Watch Ultra, a new feature-rich smartwatch for athletes and explorers, coming with an all-new design, a large flat sapphire crystal display, an additional programmable Action button, and cellular as standard. The 49mm titanium case has the brightest Apple Watch display yet at 2,000 nits – two times brighter than previous models ...
apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
Stage Manager Extension Thumb 1

New iPadOS 16.1 Beta Expands Stage Manager to Older iPad Pro Models, Delays External Display Support

Tuesday September 27, 2022 10:24 am PDT by
The most recent beta of iPadOS 16.1 expands the controversial Stage Manager feature to older iPads, allowing it to work with iPad Pro models that have an A12X or A12Z chip, according to information Apple provided to Engadget. The beta also removes the external display support from Stage Manager for the current time, with the feature set to return in a later iPadOS 16 update. Apple's...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
john meyer ultra

Apple Watch Ultra Praised by Watch World Tastemaker John Mayer

Monday September 26, 2022 4:42 am PDT by
Apple Watch Ultra has been endorsed by American musician and famous watch collector John Mayer, who has been showing off the new device on his Instagram account. "Been wearing the Apple Watch Ultra for a week... and it's great," writes Mayer over a photo of the watch. "The first Apple Watch that excited me as a mechanical watch collector." "It's loaded with capability and what I call...