I'm glad about the Apple Watch Ultra 2 delay – and why you should be too

We might not see the second iteration of Apple's rugged outdoor watch until 2026, and it's a good thing

Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's rugged outdoor watch, the Apple Watch Ultra, has been out for less than a year, but people are already speculating about the Apple Watch Ultra 2. When will it be out? What features will the new wearable have? Is it going to be the best Apple Watch to date? (Probably.) If the latest rumours are to be believed, we might have to wait for the answers to these questions until late 2026, which is actually a good thing.

Hear me out. The Apple Watch Ultra is the most innovative wearable from Apple in years. While mainline Apple Watches, such as the Apple Watch Series 8, are often criticised for only bringing minor improvements to the table, the Ultra completely revamped the physical design we expect to see from an Apple Watch, adding a new button and sporting the largest display to date on any Apple wearable.

One of the main reasons each iteration of the Apple Watch isn't quite so innovative is because they come out every single year without fail. There is no need to reinvent the wheel on a regular basis, and quite frankly, people would get tired of trying to keep track of the ever-changing design of the Apple Watch. What the Cupertino-based company provides is continuity and familiarity with a side serving of new features and some changes in design.

The waiting game

I believe this is also why people were so excited about the Apple Watch Ultra before it was released (back then, we called it the 'Apple Watch Pro'). The constant flow of slightly updated Apple Watches helped people put the Ultra into perspective; it's an innovative, almost one-of-a-kind wearable. It was new all across the board, and that was exciting.

This level of innovation isn't possible to replicate every year. Plus, this year's big launch is the Vision Pro, so it makes no sense for Apple to release an updated Ultra 2 when everyone is busy drooling over the mixed virtual reality headset and the new Mac Studio, among other products. Not to mention, WatchOS 10 is quite exciting on its own. I, for one, am excited to test the new hiking updates and cycling features.

Of course, Apple never said they would release an Apple Watch Ultra 2 this year. In fact, Apple officially haven't said anything about the Apple Watch Ultra 2 yet. However, this never stopped people from circulating rumours about the new wearable to fill the void of information.

Most of this information is contradictory; I'll be the first to admit. Our reports on these rumours went from saying that the microLED Apple Watch Ultra 2 is launching in 2024 to, 'no, actually, it's 2025', then, 'oh, maybe it's 2024 after all'. Hang on a second, 'it really is 2025', trust me, bro! Wait, it's actually 2023, but without a microLED screen. Finally, just this week, we said the new watch won't be out until 2026. Go figure.

I hope Apple won't launch the Ultra 2 until they are ready to add the microLED screen, however long it takes. There is no need for a slightly updated Ultra; I want to see a real change. Let the Apple Watch Series 9 be an 'okay' update. Let the more affordable Apple Watch SE franchise be on a by-yearly release cadence, offering people more value for money (see also: Apple Watch SE 2 review).

And let the Apple Watch Ultra be what it is: a crown jewel of Apple's wearable line. And the way to get people excited over the new watch is to release it as and when said meaningful updates have been applied. If it's this year, fine. If it's 2026, even better. We have the best smartwatches available now to keep us entertained until then.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for T3.com and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.