The Apple Watch Ultra 2 could be the best smartwatch of the year – assuming it launches this year, though there's reason to think it might not.
We'll explain why that is below, but we're already hearing leaks and rumors about what the Apple Watch Ultra 2 might offer. That includes an even bigger screen made using even better technology than the current Apple Watch Ultra.
We've included all the key leaks and rumors in this article, so read on for everything we've heard so far about this high-end wearable. And check back soon, because we'll be updating this article whenever we hear anything new.
A newly granted Apple patent details an Apple Watch with a built in camera, which could be something we see in a future Ultra model.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next top-end Apple Watch
- When is it out? Possibly September, or possibly not until 2024 or later
- How much will it cost? Probably at least $799 / £849 / AU$1,229
Apple Watch Ultra 2 release date
We might see the Apple Watch Ultra 2 in September, alongside the Apple Watch 9. After all, the original Apple Watch Ultra landed in September 2022, so September 2023 would seem obvious launch timing for the Apple Watch Ultra 2, especially since standard Apple Watch models have been releasing every September since the Apple Watch 2.
More specifically, it may well be announced in the first half of September, based on past Apple Watch releases. But this isn’t a standard Apple Watch – rather, it’s the beginning of a new line, so we can’t be certain that Apple will treat it in the same way.
In fact, there’s reason to think we might not see an Apple Watch Ultra 2 until 2024 or even 2025. For one thing, the leaks we’re hearing so far (detailed below) are talking about a 2024 or 2025 model.
They don't mention the Apple Watch Ultra 2 by name, rather they're talking about just a future Apple Watch Ultra, but you’d think we’d have also heard about the 2023 release, if one was planned.
Plus, the Apple Watch SE line isn’t yearly, with the Apple Watch SE 2 landing two years after the original model, so Apple may well do something similar with the Apple Watch Ultra.
Based on the first Ultra, these are big, flashy watches, with enormous price tags, so Apple may need come up with some noteworthy upgrades to justify its existence, which again suggests we might be waiting more than a year between them.
So there could actually be quite a long wait for the Apple Watch Ultra 2, but we're not at all sure one way or the other yet.
Apple Watch Ultra 2 price
There's no news yet on what the Apple Watch Ultra 2 might cost, but for reference the original Apple Watch Ultra is $799 / £849 / AU$1,229, so it's likely that the next model will cost at least that much.
If anything though, the price might rise, especially if we don't see it for a couple of years. A report from Display Supply Chain Consultants (opens in new tab) (via Forbes (opens in new tab)) suggests exactly that, citing new display technology as the cause.
Still, at least with the current model there's only one configuration, so if that's true of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 as well, then you won't have to pay ever higher prices to get more storage or the like.
Apple Watch Ultra 2 news and leaks
If you thought the Apple Watch Ultra was big, with its 1.92-inch screen, then you ain’t seen nothing yet, as a future Apple Watch Ultra could have an even bigger display, according to one leak.
This comes from DigiTimes (opens in new tab), which claims (via BGR (opens in new tab)) that in 2024, Apple will release a version of the Apple Watch Ultra with a 2.1-inch screen. It will also apparently use micro-LED display technology, rather than OLED.
That latter change would potentially make the screen brighter, able to show more vibrant colors, and be easier to see at an angle than the current OLED display. According to a January 2023 report from Mark Gurman – a reputable leaker – which makes the same micro-LED claim, this would also make the display seem almost as if it’s painted on top of the glass; a turn of phrase that we've heard tied to previous Apple products, when the company offered up its first iPad with a fully laminated display in 2014's iPad Air 2.
As for the size increase, a move from 1.92 inches to 2.1 inches might not sound dramatic, but for reference the Apple Watch 8 only has a 1.69-inch screen, and we noted in our Apple Watch Ultra review that it can feel gargantuan if moving up from an older, smaller model. So a further size increase is certainly notable.
Of course, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, as we considered the Ultra’s display a highlight overall, with its large size making it easy to interact with and clear to see.
As for whether this will happen, well, it looks fairly likely. As noted above, the micro-LED bit has been rumored elsewhere too, with analyst Jeff Pu (via MacRumors (opens in new tab)) recently making the exact same claim as DigiTimes; regarding both the size and tech changes.
While everyone else reported that the MicroLED Apple Watch would launch in 2024, we remained steadfast that it would be 2025, now essentially confirmed by its MicroLED supplier Osram: pic.twitter.com/gI9T6xcKfUFebruary 7, 2023
That said, we might be waiting even longer than 2024 for a micro-LED Apple Watch Ultra, because Ross Young of the aforementioned DSCC (who has a good track record) claimed in a tweet (opens in new tab) that it won't happen until 2025; citing a report from the expected micro-LED supplier which mentions 2025 as when it will start getting serious revenue from the tech.
That doesn't necessarily mean we'll be waiting until 2025 or even 2024 for an Apple Watch Ultra 2 though, it might instead mean that it will be the Apple Watch Ultra 3 or 4 that has these upgrades.
Another upgrade we may see in a future Apple Watch Ultra model is the addition of a camera. Apple has been granted various patents over the years for Apple Watches with cameras, most recently one where the camera is on the bottom of the device, and paired with a strap that lets you easily remove the watch body from said strap when you want to take a photo.
However, a lot of patents never get used for commercial devices, so we wouldn't count on seeing this, and if it does happen there's no real indication that this system will be ready in time for the Apple Watch Ultra 2.