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Apple Watch Ultra 2 to be lighter, and I hope it’ll be thinner too

Published Jul 24th, 2023 10:50AM EDT
Apple Watch Ultra gps lifestyle ad.
Image: Apple Inc.

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There’s no doubt in my mind that an Apple Watch Ultra is in my future, and a new rumor about the second-gen model tells me that future is closer than I thought. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 might be lighter than its predecessor, and that certainly ticks one of the boxes I have for Apple’s best smartwatch to date. I’d also love the upcoming Ultra to be thinner than the first-gen model. Considering a different set of leaks that we saw recently, that’s also in the realm of possibility, although I’m just speculating at this point.

According to a leaker’s post on Weibo, Apple will reduce the weight of the Apple Watch Ultra 2, which is supposedly coming this fall. The report comes from someone with a “short but good record,” per Apple Insider.

This person does not provide details about how Apple will reduce the weight of the Ultra 2, or whether the new Apple Watch will be thinner. We don’t know how light the new device will be compared to the first-gen model.

As a reminder, the 49mm Apple Watch Ultra weighs 61.3g. The stainless steel 45mm Apple Watch 8 is almost 10g lighter, at 51.5g. Go aluminum, and the 45mm model’s weight drops to 38.8g for the GPS version. We’re looking at 42.3g and 31.9g weights for the same versions of the 41mm Apple Watch Series 8.

When the first-gen model launched, I worried about the size and weight of the Ultra. I currently wear the Apple Watch SE 2, which weighs only 26.4g. The Ultra would be more than twice heavier than that. And then there’s the extra thickness to worry about. I’m absolutely not a fan of that, no matter how much I’d like to get the Ultra.

As for thickness, the Apple Watch Ultra is 14.4mm thick, compared to 10.7mm for all the other Watch models. I did try out the Ultra, and I’ll say that real-life use showed me the device doesn’t feel that heavy or bulky.

New Apple Watch Ultra: Action button.
New Apple Watch Ultra: Action button. Image source: Apple Inc.

How Apple might reduce the weight of the Apple Watch Ultra 2

The key design detail that helped Apple make a larger Apple Watch model without increasing the size and weight significantly is the use of titanium.

If you’ve been following Apple Watch and iPhone rumors, you might have heard recently that Apple plans to 3D-print Apple Watch components made of titanium. The same process might extend to iPhones in the future. This is one way Apple could reduce the weight of the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

3D printing titanium components could be cheaper and more efficient than other methods. Being able to use titanium more extensively might contribute to a reduction in weight for the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Another technology that could help Apple address the weight problem concerns the battery. It so happens that recent reports said Apple is considering stacked battery tech for future iPhones. This would let Apple increase the battery capacity without increasing the size.

Put differently, you could use a thinner stacked battery pack inside the Apple Watch without reducing the overall capacity. In turn, reducing the thickness would reduce the weight. But again, I’m speculating.

Combining more efficient titanium case manufacturing processes with lighter battery packs would be ideal.

But Apple won’t employ such innovations if it can’t also offer the same features as the first-gen Ultra. That means increased durability, longer battery life, and sports and fitness features that pro users have been asking for.

So the question is, how light will the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be? And, while I’m at it, how much thinner can it get? As a future Ultra owner, I can only say that each gram and millimeter will count. The thinner and lighter Apple can make it, the better.

As for a cheaper price tag, which is also something I’d love to see happen for the Ultra series, I’m not going to hold my breath anytime soon.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.