I bought an Apple Watch Ultra at launch — this is what Ultra 2 needs for me to upgrade

Apple Watch Ultra with yellow band in garden
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Apple Watch Ultra was the next step in Apple’s wearables line in 2022, but for Ultra 2, I want to see it refined for both convenience and features in certain situations

When the Apple Watch was first announced in 2014, it gained a sale out of me. I bought the Series 0 model at launch in 2015, and I’ve worn one ever since. I moved onto the Series 5 in 2019, and currently, I’m trying out the Apple Watch Ultra.

Apple has repositioned the Apple Watch as a device for fitness, rather than communication. Apple Watch Ultra took this one step further. Now, it’s not just about fitness, but safety as well. You can use its Satellite SOS call feature in emergencies, its compass lets you pinpoint your exact location, and its bigger battery allows the GPS coordinates to keep your family and friends aware of where you are.

But I’m not an extreme sports guy, I simply love the design of the Ultra, from its more-angular face to the Action button. With that in mind, there are three big features that I’d love to see in an Apple Watch Ultra 2, with a focus on convenience and style.

Touch ID

iPhone X with Touch ID

(Image credit: Future)

Imagine if Touch ID finally arrived on Apple Watch, but it was under the display, just like we once thought it would be on iPhone 15?

All you’d have to do is place your finger on the screen when prompted, and your Watch would be unlocked. It could also be used for purchases on the App Store and Apple Pay too, without needing your iPhone to authenticate them.

Touch ID would be a great feature to separate the Ultra from the rest of the lineup too - especially if the Action button moves to the Series 9 and iPhone 15 Pro later this year. It would be the first Apple device to have Touch ID under the screen, and its convenience would be a big draw to many for the Ultra 2. But if not, it could also be placed in the side button or the Digital Crown, similar to the Lock Button on the iPad.

Smart Bands

Apple Watch Ultra

(Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

This is a rumor I used to hear incessantly around the time of Series 4 in 2018. For those unaware, smart bands would attach to your Apple Watch as normal but include additional sensors or batteries in them. The Watch would recognize these and could give you more accurate readings for your blood oxygen levels and more.

It would make the Ultra 2 even more personable and more modular too. For example, there could be an Apple Watch band that would focus on your heart rate for fitness and training. Or another user could have an Ultra 2 that could last a whole week because their smart band would just be an extra battery.

These could also add to the uniqueness of the Apple Watch Ultra line, apart from the action button and different design compared to the Series 8. Smart bands could be exclusive to Ultra 2 and extend its functionality to suit the user.


How to Visual Look Up food recipe iOS 17 press image

(Image credit: Apple)

If, like me, you remember watching those commercials and TV shows of watches that took photos and videos back in the day, this feature is for you too.

Answering FaceTime calls or creating short video messages would be the natural step for a camera on an Ultra 2, but it could go further than that.

Leaving short video messages, perhaps with the 'thumbs up' FaceTime gesture lifted from iOS 17, could be a great way to keep in contact with someone. 

But Visual Lookup and QR codes could work in a much better way than they do on iPhone.

Imagine you’re on holiday, and there’s a QR code you need to scan for a menu or to send a message to in order to book a table. The camera could scan it, and you could use Hand Off to your iPhone to look in further detail.

Visual Lookup could be a matter of waving your Apple Watch Ultra 2 at a sign in another language, or a certain object, and it could give you information about it on the fly. It could even be given by having Siri read it out to you, or by expanding it in more detail on your iPhone when you next take it out of your pocket.

It would also add to the convenience factor - the camera won’t be used for selfies and 4K videos of your dog, but it’ll be used for those short moments that cut the hassle for when you can’t use your iPhone.

Brace yourself

watchOS 10

(Image credit: Apple)

We’ve come a long way since the debut of the Apple Watch in 2014. The overhaul that watchOS 10 brings, such as widgets, redesigned apps, and more, only shows where Apple wants its wearable to go in the future.

I’ve been happy with Apple Watch, ever since my Series 0. It’s helped me deal with stress, it’s made me more aware of my fitness, and it’s also helped me to keep in touch with my wife when my iPhone runs out of battery.

The Apple Watch Ultra, however, has shown me how much further the wearable can go - with a bigger screen, an extra button, and a better battery. If the Ultra 2 brings just one of my wishful features next month, I’ll be ready to upgrade as soon as it’s available.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use every day to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a monthly newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64, and Daily Star.

  • tcuprof
    iMore.com said:
    With rumors that an Apple Watch Ultra 2 is coming soon, it’s made me wonder what I’d like to see in one.

    I bought an Apple Watch Ultra at launch — this is what Ultra 2 needs for me to upgrade : Read more
    These are some good ideas Daryl. Of the three ideas, a smart band is the most intriguing/enticing, although I doubt anything could get me to upgrade. I think what I want most is for Apple to make more options available for the Action button. As it stands, anything I want the Action button to do, I could already do with Siri.
  • simonmann
    Keep dreaming, none of these will come to the Watch, no anytime soon for sure.