Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9 will sport a new heart rate sensor, report claims

a photo of an apple watch showing heart rate
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A new optical heart rate sensor will be among the Apple Watch Series 9 and second-generation Apple Watch Ultra upgrades detailed at Apple’s Wonderlust event tomorrow. That’s according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman's detailed report of everything he expects to see when Tim Cook takes to the stage at Cupertino.

According to Gurman, the changes to Apple’s new wearables will focus on “speed, efficiency and accuracy” thanks to a fourth-generation optical heart rate sensor and a new U2 ultrawide-band chip for an improved Find My experience. The U2 chip will be the first improvement to Apple's ultrawide-band tech since the U1 was introduced with the iPhone 11 Pro back in 2019. The U2's also expected to make it into the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro. Meanwhile, we don’t know what changes the new heart rate sensor will add beyond simply better accuracy during workouts.

While sensor and component upgrades will add functionality and accuracy to the wearables, Gurman is convinced performance will be the big selling point this year. He claims Apple will tout “major gains in processing speed” because the watches will get their first new chip since the Series 6 in 2020.

A further push to make the Apple Watch category more environmentally friendly also means changes are in store. Apple is thought to be experimenting with a shift to 3D-printed device cases, while also moving away from silicone watch bands.

Size matters

Apple Watch Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

While those are the changes mentioned, some things will very much stay the same. The Apple Watch Series 9 is expected to keep its current sizings of 41mm and 45mm while the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will continue to be available in a single 49mm size. 

Both are expected to keep the same outward design as their predecessors, paving the way for the Apple Watch X to shake things up next year. However, if you’re eyeing up the Ultra 2 but want a new color, you’re in luck — a new all-black version is heavily tipped to be making an appearance.

Should you upgrade to the Apple Watch Ultra 2? Here’s what my colleague Kate Kozuch had to say after using the Apple Watch Ultra herself for nearly a year.

Of course, we don’t have to wait long at this point to find out just how the next generation of Apple Watch will shape up. Apple’s September event is scheduled to begin tomorrow, September 12, at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT). Here’s how to watch it and follow along with all the announcements.

More from Tom's Guide

Jeff Parsons
UK Editor In Chief

Jeff is UK Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide looking after the day-to-day output of the site’s British contingent. Rising early and heading straight for the coffee machine, Jeff loves nothing more than dialling into the zeitgeist of the day’s tech news.

A tech journalist for over a decade, he’s travelled the world testing any gadget he can get his hands on. Jeff has a keen interest in fitness and wearables as well as the latest tablets and laptops. A lapsed gamer, he fondly remembers the days when problems were solved by taking out the cartridge and blowing away the dust.