Apple's new wearable lineup surprises everyone by improving in several unexpected areas while still keeping the basics, pretty much the same. The new Apple Watch Series 9 has received a ton of upgrades while the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is more of a refinement of last year's model. There's new silicon powering both of the devices and they also incorporate Apple's second-gen ultra-wideband chip, just like the new iPhones.
Apple Watch Series 9
The Apple Watch has been all about incremental upgrades over the last few years and while the Series 9 isn't inconsistent with that trend, it still brings some significant improvements. First of all, the display is now twice as bright compared to Series 8, now peaking at 2000 nits. This is a massive improvement for outdoor visibility as we saw last year with the first-gen Watch Ultra.
While it is easy to overlook the internals, the Series 9 has received the first big SoC improvement in years. The new S9 SiP bumps the power up with 60% more transistors (compared to S8 SiP) in the CPU and it also has 20% faster GPU performance. The total memory available onboard is 64GB which is double compared to last year's Series 8.
There's also a new 4-core Neural Engine that enables on-device Siri actions alongside on-device Health metrics. The S9 also enables Double Tap gestures thanks to the increased performance. You can tap your index finger and thumb to trigger actions like going through notifications or controlling primary actions in apps. There's also the new 2nd-gen Ultra Wideband chip just like the new iPhones.
The Apple Watch Series 9 is also the first carbon-neutral product from the company. Taking the effort further, Apple is offering the Sport Loop as a carbon-neutral strap which you can choose instead of the old-school Sport Band.
Apple Watch Ultra 2
Unlike the Series 9, Apple hasn't changed much from last year for the Ultra 2, but there are a few significant improvements. You get the S9 SiP and all the upgrades that come with it including, higher performance, better on-device capabilities (Siri and Health), and even the new Double-tap Gesture.
Another big upgrade is the brightness of the display as it can now go up to 3000 nits. Last year the Ultra went to 2000 nits which was already plenty bright, but as the regular model also received that same upgrade this year, Apple has increased the brightness on the 2nd-gen Ultra by another 1000 nits.
Just like the Series 9, the Ultra 2 also got a storage upgrade to 64GB which is double compared to its predecessor. The 2nd-gen Ultra Wideband chip also makes its way to the device and the rest is mostly the same with the Titanium build and the longer battery life. If you want carbon-neutral straps, the company is offering the Trail Loop and the Alpine Loop as customization options.
Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 - Pricing and Availability
Apple hasn't raised the prices for the new wearables, so the Apple Watch Series 9 still starts at $399 for the GPS Model and costs $499 for the GPS+Cellular model. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 on the other hand, retails for $799.
In India, the Apple Watch Series 9 starts at ₹41900 for the GPS model and $51900 for the GPS+Cellular model, and for the Apple Watch Ultra 2, you'll have to pay ₹89900.
Both models are available to order on Apple's website right now and they hit the stores on 22nd September just like the new iPhone 15 models and the new AirPods Pro 2 with USB Type-C. Delivery dates can vary widely based on your location.