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Apple Watch Ultra 3 wishlist: All the features I want to see

Apple's biggest watch might be getting very little upgrades.

Published onJuly 5, 2024

An Apple Watch Ultra in a user's hand displays the Apple logo.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Apple’s premium smartwatch lineup made a splash in 2022 when it introduced the company’s loyal fanbase to a larger, more durable option. Since then, the original Apple Watch Ultra and updated Ultra 2 have been go-to picks for shoppers who prioritize display space, battery life, and a rugged build. I love my Ultra and probably wear it more than any other device, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Below is everything I want to see in the next generation and everything we know about the potential device so far.

Battery, more battery, and then a little more battery

An Apple Watch Ultra on a user's wrist displays the Low Power Mode info screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Some day, I will be able to stop including battery life in my Apple wishlists, but today is not that day. While the Ultra and Ultra 2 offer a significant bump compared to Apple’s base series, they still don’t deliver the stats I expect from an adventuring wearable. I don’t want to rely on Low Power Mode to stretch my device long enough to last a short camping trip.

36 hours was a solid start in 2022, but now two generations later, I expect Apple to step it up, especially when you take a peek at what some recent Wear OS devices have brought to the table. Both the OnePlus Watch 2 and TicWatch Pro 5 Enduro equip creative ways to stretch battery life so the devices can spend more time on users’ wrists and less time on the charger. Here’s hoping the Apple Watch Ultra 3 wants to spend equally as much time on mine.

Novelty worthy of an upgrade

An Apple Watch Ultra on a user's wrists displays the countdown for Siren.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Incremental improvement is the name of the game when it comes to Apple’s wearables and more often than not, we see few dramatic changes from year to year. The first Ultra introduced an 86-decibel siren, a powerful safety feature for outdoor enthusiasts. Last year, the Ultra 2 debuted with a powerful new chipset that enabled exciting features like double-tap gesture control. It also packed a new second-generation ultra-wideband chip for more exact location services. I want to see similarly elevating features introduced that help warrant upgrading to the new model. We’ve already seen a preview of what watchOS 11 will bring to users’ wrists, but there is still plenty of time for leaks to show what else Apple might have up its sleeve.

Unfortunately, rumors so far suggest we’re unlikely to see any major hardware changes. In a recent blog post, trusted analyst Mark Gurnam remarked that this year’s Ultra model “will have roughly the same look as the original.” That means anyone holding out for multiple sizes or an added action button this year will likely be disappointed. However, it is possible that sensor improvements paired with AI could lead to intriguing new capabilities, especially regarding training and health monitoring.

Anything but orange

A user highlights the Action button on their Apple Watch Ultra.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

If Apple does, in fact, stick to a single action button, I still hope to see it in an alternative colorway. I don’t have anything personal against the color, I just value variety. To this end, I’d like to see Apple introduce a second and maybe even third colorway to the Ultra lineup to give shoppers more options. My first pick would be a dark slate that echoes the rugged aesthetic of the original concept. Even black would work, though a massive black brick on my wrist might feel a little too straight out of Batman’s tool belt. If Apple were to introduce a third color, I’d love to see something more fun (but equally subdued), like a midnight blue or dark green. These seem less likely than a metallic neutral, though.

Apple Watch Ultra 3: What features would you like to see?

69 votes

Will there be an Apple Watch Ultra 3?

An Apple Watch Ultra on a user's wrist displays the device's app library.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
  • Apple Watch Ultra — September 7, 2022
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2 — September 12, 2023

I’m very hopeful we will see an Apple Watch Ultra 3. Though there have only been limited rumors, multiple trusted sources have confirmed that the new generation is headed to shelves. This includes supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who confirmed the incoming device to MacRumors back in May. Apple has maintained a consistent launch schedule for many years, with most of the company’s new smartwatch generations landing in Septemeber. There have only been two previous Ultra models, but both arrived alongside a regular Apple Watch series.

In 2022, we received the Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch Series 8. One year later, Apple released the Ultra 2 alongside the Series 9. I wouldn’t expect the company to deviate from this pattern. The Ultra 3 is most likely to debut at Apple’s fall event this upcoming September, along with the Apple Watch Series 10 and iPhone 16. As always, general availability of these products will begin shortly after.

Should you wait for the Apple Watch Ultra 3?

An Apple Watch Ultra displays the multisport workout screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Advising someone whether or not to wait for a device launch is always tricky, and the answer changes as the calendar gap closes between what’s currently available and what’s coming down the pipe. As of now, we are still a few months away from a potential Apple Watch Ultra 3. That means there is plenty of time for the rumor mill to pump out more info, contradict existing rumors, or leak specs and details. It also means there’s a lot of time to spend in limbo without a wearable on your wrist.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 ($759.99 at eBay) is a fantastic device with a powerful processor and a great build. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking to purchase an Apple Watch right now. If, like me, you’re equal parts motivated and awed by professional athletes, the upcoming Olympics might be the perfect time to set new goals, and an Ultra 2 can help you on your fitness tracking journey. So far, I also don’t see any indication that major features are heading to the Ultra 3 that might leave you with buyer’s remorse.

On the other hand, if you already own an Apple Watch Ultra, or relatively new Apple Watch like the Series 8 or 9, it might be worth waiting until Septemeber to upgrade your device. Of course, if you aren’t an iOS user, you should not be holding your breath for the Apple Watch Ultra 3. It is almost certainly not going to be compatible with Android phones, just like every other Apple Watch. In that case, I would consider the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 Ultra or a multisport watch from Garmin like the Epix Pro Gen 2 ($899.99 at Amazon).

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