With just last year’s initial release, there’s been some talk about whether the Apple Watch Ultra will get annual hardware refreshes like its sister wearables, or one that updates every two or three years like the AirPods.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently predicted that we’ll actually see the Apple Watch Ultra 2 this year, despite 2024 and 2025 dates being set for the successor to the flagship smartwatch, and now he’s been backed up by reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
a Post on MediumKuo describes the new wearable as “2H23” — or the second half of 2023. While that could mean any moment from tomorrow, realistically, it suggests a wearable that could be demoed alongside the iPhone 15 in September.
The date is actually mentioned because Kuo is more interested in Apple’s manufacturing process, which apparently embraces 3D printing for some of the watch’s titanium mechanical parts.
“While currently 3D printing produced mechanical parts must go through the CNC process for back-end processes, it can still improve production time and reduce production costs,” he writes.
What mechanical parts could these be? Well, on the current Apple Watch Ultra, the mechanical parts consist of the digital crown, side button and action button. Of course, the second generation device could accept more mechanical parts that we don’t know about.
However, it’s unlikely to be dramatically different from the $799 wearable you can buy today. Apple’s upgrades tend to be on the iterative side, especially since there’s only a 12-month gap between generations.
A new version could ship with a faster chip, and whatever additional health sensors the Apple Watch Series 9 comes with, so it doesn’t get outdone in the features department by the cheaper model.
A rumor that has surfaced is that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will sport a bigger screen, going from the already 1.92-inch to a giant 2.1-inch panel. While this will allow for a bigger battery, it won’t be something everyone is excited about given the current model’s chunkiness.
The 2.1-inch screen rumor specifically links to a micro-LED panel tipped for 2024, so it’s possible the Watch will look more familiar when it launches alongside the iPhone 15. If Kuo and Gurman are right, we’ll know for sure in a couple of months.