We love the Apple Watch 8, and the first generation Apple Watch Ultra is a beast when it comes to durability and functionality. How can you beat an everyday watch that can basically transform into a dive computer when you hit the water?
Well, we finally have the answer: Last week, Apple revealed the long-anticipated Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 at its annual Wonderlust event. Both of the latest additions to the Apple Watch family will come with a more powerful S9 chip and a brighter display.
So which one should you pre-order? (Both hit stores on September 22.) Should you upgrade at all? That depends on how you plan to use your Apple Watch. Here’s a closer look at what each of Apple’s new watches can do to help you decide.
Apple Watch 9 gives you more hands-free functionality during workouts
The most impressive upgrade coming with the Apple Watch 9 is probably Siri Health. This will make starting your workouts and getting status updates along the way a breeze. Instead of navigating the watch screen, just say “Siri, start an outdoor run workout” or “Siri, start a yoga workout.” Your new watch will immediately start tracking the activity, even when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network.
You can also ask Siri for updates during a session like what your current heart rate is or how much distance you’ve covered so far. With this voice command functionality, you won’t have to stop or slow down to look at your watch when you want to check your stats. Finally, you can log health data with Siri, too. Log your latest weight check in, the start of your period, or when you’ve taken your medication all via voice command.
When you pair Siri Health with the new Double Tap feature, mid-workout watch navigation will be easier than ever. Double Tap is a new gesture you can use to interact with your watch without having to touch the screen. Simply tap your index and thumb finger together twice in a row–hence “double tap”–and the Apple Watch 9 will answer or end a call, start or stop a timer, play or pause your music or whatever else you need it to do.
This makes it a great choice for people who need to interact with their watch during workouts to check stats or start and stop timers. The hands-free functionality will seriously improve your workout experience so you can accurately log your activity without having to fuss with your watch.
It’s also a great option for the multi-taskers. If you tend to squeeze in your exercise during the workday, for example, the ability to answer calls or reply to emails without having to stop your workout is a game changer.
If you don’t really need that hands-free functionality, the launch of the Apple Watch 9 is the perfect opportunity to save by taking advantage of Apple Watch 8 clearance deals. The previous generation is still packed with tons of great fitness features like the ability to track heart rate, blood oxygen levels and temperature.
It can track all the same health metrics and activities as the Apple Watch 9, just without the robust voice command features of the new Siri Health or the handy Double Tap gesture. It’s also durable, with IPX6-rated dust resistance and water resistant to 50 meters. But the best part of all is that you can get the Apple Watch 8 for as low as $310 (reduced from $399) while it’s on clearance.
Apple Watch Ultra 2 is an even better multi-sport watch
The new Apple Watch Ultra 2 (49 mm) will also get the Siri Health voice command features and the double tap gesture. Then it adds a few more cool upgrades on top of those. Aside from the brighter screen (3,000 nits!), one of our favorite upgrades is the customizable watch face.
Modular Ultra, the watch face on the new Ultra, lets you customize which metrics and performance data are displayed on your watch. Each widget on the face can be customized to display whichever data you need so you don’t have to toggle between screens anymore. Everything you need to check is on one screen.
It also boasts improved depth and altitude tolerance. Dive down as far as 100 meters (about 325 feet) or scale mountains as high as 9,000 meters (about 29,500 feet) above sea level. Since the tallest peak on earth is Mount Everest’s 8,848-meter peak, that means you can take this to the top of literally any mountain on the planet.
The new built-in Depth app logs your dives and lets you review your most recent sessions on the watch. From your phone, you can see your complete dive history, complete with GPS pinpointed entry point.
The rugged and powerful Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be available starting Sept. 22. Pre-orders are open now at Amazon and other retailers. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 will retail for $799.
Our favorite new features of the Apple Watch Ultra 2:
Siri Health lets you access pretty much every fitness-related feature via voice command so your hands (and attention) are free to stick to your workout.
The double tap gesture gives you even more hands-free functionality to control your watch without having to touch or look at the screen.
The Modular Ultra watch face lets you customize which metrics are displayed so you can see all the data you care about on one screen
With a peak brightness of 3,000 nits, the Ultra 2 is Apple’s brightest watch yet and perfect for seeing your watch even in the brightest sunlight.