With Apple Watch Ultra wearables released in 2022 and 2023, it looked like Apple was heading for the same annual release schedule as it has for its numbered iPhones and its non-Ultra wearables.
But two releases is a pretty limited set of data points to draw that conclusion from, and the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that there’s currently no evidence Apple is planning to launch the Ultra 3 in 2024.
“As of now, Apple has yet to kick off the Apple Watch Ultra 3 development officially,” the analyst wrote on his Medium blog. “It is unusual given the product development schedule.”
Assuming his information is correct, there is still a small window available for Apple to kickstart development for a release next year, though, he reckons. “If Apple doesn’t officially kick off the Apple Watch Ultra 3 project by December, it’s almost confirmed that we won’t see a new Apple Watch Ultra in 2024.”
Why would Apple not release a new Ultra in 2024? Kuo suggests that it needs more time to develop “innovative health management features” and to address issues related to the Micro LED screen he’s tipping the wearable to have.
The Micro LED rumor is one that we’ve heard before, from analysts Ross Young and Jeff Pu, Bloomberg, and most recently the Weibo leaker Setsuna Digital. Such screen tech would be significantly brighter and could also be more power efficient, aiding battery life.
A strange year to take a break
On one hand, this makes sense. The recent Apple Watch Ultra 2 was a pretty minor upgrade, introducing a faster chip, a brighter screen and double tap controls but was otherwise unchanged from the original.
But on the other, would Apple really not release a new Ultra model in 2024 when that’s the tenth anniversary of Tim Cook unveiling the original Apple Watch at September 2014’s iPhone 6 event?
After all, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has already stated that Apple is planning big things for the Apple Watch X to celebrate ten years of the wearable, including a new design with a thinner chassis.
But there’s an extremely important asterisk to that anniversary. Though the original Apple Watch was unveiled in September 2014, it wasn’t actually available to buy until the following April. In other words, the tenth anniversary of Apple Watch is either 2024 or 2025, depending on where you measure from. Gurman himself hedges his bets, saying the Watch X revamp will either be next year or the year after.
That raises interesting questions about the vanilla Apple Watch’s numbering (10 next year and a limited edition ‘X’ in 2025? No 11, or an 11 alongside the X?), but nothing that couldn’t be worked around. For now, it looks like if you’re in the market for an Apple Watch Ultra, there’s little point in holding off for next year.