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Next-gen Apple Watch Ultra may boast an even larger display

Published Feb 1st, 2023 5:03PM EST
Apple Watch Ultra gps lifestyle ad.
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple is planning to add a new version of the Apple Watch Ultra to its lineup by 2024, according to a new report from Digitimes. While the current model boasts an already-large 1.93-inch display, the new device will reportedly boast a gargantuan 2.1-inch display. As a point of comparison, the entry-level Apple Watch Series 8 features a 1.61-inch display.

While Digitimes has a spotty track record with respect to Apple rumors, this one might have some legs. To this point, the report mirrors a previous report from Haitong Intl Tech Research analyst Jeff Pu who, just a few weeks ago, claimed that Apple is working on an Apple Watch Ultra model with a larger Micro LED display.

Does the Apple Watch Ultra need a bigger display?

Because the current Apple Watch Ultra display is already quite large, it’s hard to imagine there’s a huge demand for an even bigger display. But seeing as how the Apple Watch Ultra is already a niche device, perhaps Apple is simply trying to cater to buyers willing to pay any amount of money for a larger form factor. And because the Apple Watch Ultra is specifically geared for use in rugged and extreme weather conditions, perhaps the feedback from early adopters is that they would love a model with an even larger display.

Put differently, if you’re climbing up a mountain in hostile weather conditions, with the wind reaching speeds in excess of 50 MPH, maybe that extra screen real estate is imperative. Admittedly, I have no plan to ever scale Mt. Everest or go white water rafting in dangerous conditions. And with that said, I’ll trust that if Apple is indeed planning on introducing a next-gen model with a larger display, it’s a decision rooted in market research and consumer demand.

Is the Apple Watch Ultra a success?

Apple, similar to its approach with the iPhone, doesn’t release unit sales for the Apple Watch. And it certainly doesn’t break down sales by unit type. That said, some early analyst reports seem to indicate that Apple’s rugged Apple Watch model has been selling briskly. For instance, a report from this past December claims that sales in China are surging thanks, in large part, to the Apple Watch Ultra.

And with good reason, the high-end wearable offers users far more than just a larger display. Some of the device’s unique features include a more advanced microphone scheme, impressive battery life, high-end materials, a display that’s 2x brighter than existing Apple Watch models, dual-frequency GPS, and of course, an “action” button on the side that allows users to quickly access a range of apps and features.

With regard to the improved microphone setup, Apple notes:

An adaptive beamforming algorithm uses the microphones to capture voice while reducing ambient background sounds, resulting in remarkable clarity. In challenging windy environments, Apple Watch Ultra uses advanced wind noise-reduction algorithms, including machine learning, to deliver clear and intelligible audio for calls.

The Apple Watch Ultra packs a punch, but it certainly doesn’t come cheap with a sticker price of $799.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.