Apple Watch Ultra 2 back on for autumn, says report

Give Apple a big hand: its flagship smartwatch is back on the release slate for late 2023

Apple Watch Ultra
(Image credit: Apple)

If you can afford it and have big hands, the Apple Watch Ultra is probably the best Apple Watch and the best smartwatch overall – and it looks like you’ll be able to get your hands on its successor in 2023. That’s a surprise because previous reports suggested that its launch had been put back to the following year. It looks like Apple has changed its mind again, and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will debut alongside the Apple Watch Series 9 this autumn.

The news comes via Bloomberg, which reports that there will be three new Apple Watch models this year: two Apple Watch Series 9 models – as ever; the Watch comes in two sizes – and a new Apple Watch Ultra. Apple’s internal codenames for these wearables are N207, N208 and N210. Gurman doesn’t have any more details on the Ultra 2 specification, but information about future Apple Watch Ultra models has already leaked from elsewhere.

Apple Watch Ultra 2: what do we know?

Right now, we don’t know much. The big question for me is whether this is the microLED Apple Watch Ultra we’ve heard so much about. I suspect it isn’t because that has variously been pegged for a late 2024 or even a 2025 release. I think it’s highly unlikely that Apple will manage to get microLED into its flagship watch this year

According to DigiTimes, the second generation Apple Watch Ultra will be bigger: 10% bigger, in fact. I’m really not sold on this one because the current Apple Watch is already a pretty chunky thing; making it bigger feels like the opposite of Apple’s current design direction. I know that in fancy-watch land, some people do like wandering around with something the size of a dinner plate on their arm, but I really don’t see Apple going down that route: one of the benefits of the reported microLED Apple Watch is that it enables Apple to make its wearable smaller.

I think the most likely changes we’ll see this year are a minor redesign – slimmer bezels are a possibility, and a new colour option for the case is a relatively simple thing for Apple to offer – and an internal upgrade. The current Apple Watch Ultra has the same Apple silicon as the Apple Watch Series 8, and it has been reported that Apple is working on a new processor for the Series 9 based on the A15 chip, which powers the iPhone 13. 

A new processor would deliver a speed boost, but more importantly, for watch wearers, it should also deliver better battery life. Hopefully, it’s coming to the entire Apple Watch range rather than being reserved for the Ultra 2.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (