Should you buy an Apple Watch Ultra 2 or wait for the Ultra 3? – Pocket-lint

Key Takeaways

Apple Watch Ultra 3 is expected to have minor upgrades over the Ultra 2, such as an S10 chip and a larger display.
Consider waiting for Ultra 3 if you already have a smartwatch, as the Ultra 2 will remain capable for years.
The Ultra 2 may be worth considering if you don’t have a smartwatch and could use one right away.

When you’re shopping for an Apple Watch, it’s always tempting to buy an Ultra. Even if you’re not a runner, diver, powerlifter, or mountain climber, it’s hard to ignore the appeal of features like a huge screen and multi-day battery life. The second item is something every Watch should have, honestly.

The Ultra 2 is Apple’s newest version. It launched in September 2023, however — given Apple’s annual cycles, that means we’re due for a third-gen product in September 2024, or maybe October at the latest if there’s a production delay. Is it worth getting an Ultra 2 today, knowing that the Ultra 3 is around the corner? Possibly, but only under specific circumstances. That should become clear as we break down the predicted upgrades in the Ultra 3.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2 vs Apple Watch Ultra 3

What upgrades can we expect?

Based on current rumors and historical trends, the Ultra 3 is likely to be a minor upgrade over the Ultra 2, just as that was a minor evolution of the original Ultra. The biggest change should be a new system-in-chip (SiP), presumably called the S10. That will offer a speed boost, and could enable some form of Apple Intelligence, the company’s generative AI tech. The last point is up in the air — all we know for certain is that Apple hasn’t announced AI for existing Watch models. If it does appear, its implementation probably won’t be as powerful as on iPhones.

There’s a strong possibility of a larger display. Size options for the Apple Watch Series 10/X are poised to grow from 41 and 45mm to 45 and 49mm, respectively, which means the Ultra 3 will need to top 50mm or more to reign supreme. That would also keep the device competitive with Garmin watches, some of which measure up to 51mm.

The Ultra 3 is likely to be a minor upgrade over the Ultra 2, just as that was a minor evolution of the original Ultra.

The overall look of the Ultra 3 is rumored to be staying the same, including its contours, crown, and Action button. It could, hypothetically, ship in more than one color, considering that the Ultra 2 is only available in gray, unlike other Watches. That might be a way of enticing shoppers who care as much about fashion as function.

Another hypothetical is more storage. The Ultra 2 has 64GB, which is normally plenty for a smartwatch. With watchOS 11 gaining support for offline maps, though, upgrading to 128GB could make the Ultra 3 a better running, cycling, and hiking device, letting users sync their maps without having to sacrifice apps or cached music. It might also be another way of distinguishing Ultras from their siblings.

Apple Watch Ultra 3: What we know so far

Expect an evolutionary upgrade instead of anything earth-shattering.

Should you wait for the Apple Watch Ultra 3?

Most should probably wait

If you already have a smartwatch and it’s running perfectly fine, we’d recommend waiting for the Ultra 3, which should be revealed at Apple’s usual September press event. While the Ultra 2 will remain a capable and well-supported device for years, people tend to get upset or even angry when they realize a recent purchase of theirs is already last-gen — particularly when it costs as much as an Ultra. There’s no sense subjecting yourself to that because you couldn’t hold out a month or two.

An Ultra 2 could be worth it if you don’t already have a smartwatch and want one as soon as possible. Perhaps you’re an athlete trying to enhance performance, or someone with a medical condition needing alerts and trend data. Apple Health is excellent for that. Heck, it could be that you’re just tired of being out of shape. The Ultra 3 won’t revolutionize smartwatch tech, so why sacrifice your health or competitive edge?

If you do have a smartwatch — from Apple or otherwise — upgrading to an Ultra 2 could solve some immediate problems with what you own. Most Apple Watches last less than a day on a charge, for example, which is a serious flaw if you’re a frequent traveler or engage in long workouts like marathon training. The Ultra 2 is also an ideal hiking watch, as its battery life is paired with features like a bright 3,000-nit display and an emergency siren. It’s up to you to decide whether your current troubles warrant missing out on the Ultra 3.

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Q: When is the Apple Watch Ultra 3 coming out?

Apple typically announces and launches new Apple Watches every September, so it’s a safe bet that you’ll be able to order an Ultra 3 by the end of the month. Delays into October aren’t unheard of, mind.

Q: How much will the Apple Watch Ultra 3 cost?

We’re expecting it to match the $799 of the Ultra 2, barring radical new features that could justify a price hike.

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