The Apple Watch Ultra 3 may not actually show up next year – here's why

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 on a person's wrist
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 landed in September (Image credit: Future)

As our Apple Watch Ultra 2 review will tell you, we're big fans of the premium smartwatch line that Apple introduced last year – but there's a rumor that we won't see the Apple Watch Ultra 3 show up in 2024.

This comes from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), who says the chances of the wearable making an appearance next year are "decreasing". It seems that development has yet to officially start on the device, which means it's behind schedule.

If the wheels aren't in motion on the Apple Watch Ultra 3 by December, Kuo says, Apple would almost certainly not have time to get it out before 2025. Both previous models have been unveiled at events Apple has held in September.

As for the reason behind the delay, Kuo thinks that integrating new features (including "innovative health management features") and issues related to the rumored switch to micro-LED displays could be holding everything up.

Analysis: September reveals mean time pressures

Apple usually releases its smartwatches every year like clockwork (or should that be watchwork?). Only the original 1st-gen Apple Watch and the Apple Watch 7 weren't launched in September – they appeared in April 2015 and October 2021 (in the midst of a global pandemic) respectively.

Considering that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 wasn't much of an upgrade over its predecessor – a brighter screen being the main highlight – it's possible that Apple is preparing a much more significant swathe of improvements next time around.

That would certainly complicate every stage of the development, from initial research to production line manufacturing. Still, it seems strange that work hasn't properly started on the wearable if Kuo's information is accurate (and it usually is).

Next up for Apple is a launch event scheduled for Monday, October 30 (or Tuesday, October 31, depending on where in the world you are). It's almost certainly going to involve Macs though, with Apple's mobile and wearable launches all done for this year.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.