Apple Watch Ultra 2 will launch this year, says Kuo

Apple Watch Ultra in sleep focus
(Image credit: Future)

With only last year’s initial release to go on, there has been some debate over whether the Apple Watch Ultra will receive annual hardware refreshes like its sister wearables, or be something that will be updated every two-to-three years, like AirPods.

While dates of 2024 and even 2025 have been mooted for the flagship smartwatch’s successor, recently Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicted we’d actually see the Apple Watch Ultra 2 this year, and now he’s been backed up by the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a post on Medium, Kuo describes the new wearable as “2H23” — or the second half of 2023. While that could mean any moment from tomorrow, realistically, that suggests a wearable that would at least be demoed alongside the iPhone 15 in September.

The date is really only mentioned in passing, with Kuo more interested in Apple’s manufacturing process, which will apparently adopt 3D printing for some of the watch’s titanium mechanical parts. 

“Although currently the mechanical parts made by 3D printing still have to go through the CNC process for back-end processes, it can still improve the production time and reduce the production cost,” he writes.

What mechanical parts could these be? Well, on the current Apple Watch Ultra, the mechanical parts consist of the digital crown, the side button and the action button. Though of course, the second-generation device could adopt more mechanical parts we don’t know about.

Still, it feels unlikely to be dramatically different from the $799 wearable you can buy today. Apple’s upgrades tend to be on the iterative side, especially when there’s only a 12-month gap between generations. 

It could well be that a newer version will simply ship with a faster chip, and whatever extra health sensors that the Apple Watch Series 9 arrives with, just so that it isn’t upstaged in the features department by a cheaper model. 

One rumor that has emerged is that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will sport a larger screen, going from the already imposing 1.92 inches to a giant 2.1-inch panel. While this would potentially allow for an even bigger battery, it’s not something that everyone is thrilled about, given the chunkiness of the existing model.

That said, the 2.1-inch screen rumor specifically links to a Micro-LED panel tipped for 2024, so it’s possible that the watch that launches alongside the iPhone 15 will look a lot more familiar. If Kuo and Gurman are right, we should know for sure in two months’ time.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.