A new report from Apple insider and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the likelihood of an Apple Watch Ultra 3 coming next year is decreasing, citing reports that Apple has yet to start developing the third iteration of its rugged wearable.
Apple first unveiled the Apple Watch Ultra last year to much fanfare and updated this year with a very capable second generation. Apple Watch Ultra 2 delivers all the same potency of Apple’s regular watch lineup in a rugged exterior shell designed to survive the harshest of environments, whether that’s running on the trail, climbing, diving, or anything in between.
This year’s release seemed to confirm that Apple was embarking on a yearly upgrade cycle for the foreseeable future, but Kuo’s comments have poured some water on that prospect.
Don’t give up hope on Apple Watch 3 just yet - iMore’s take
“As of now, Apple has yet to kick off the Apple Watch Ultra 3 development officially. It is unusual given the product development schedule,” Kuo wrote in a blog post on Medium Thursday.
Kuo warns that if Apple doesn’t start the process by December, we might not see a new Apple Watch Ultra in time for 2024. Kuo states that he believes Apple needs more time to “develop innovative health management features” and “address issues related to Micro LED production.”
Apple is expected to debut Micro LED technology in Apple Watch sometime in the near future. DSCC’s Ross Young stated that this would be in 2025, so that could line up with what Kuo is predicting here. A MicroLED Apple Watch Ultra could sport an even larger and brighter display than its predecessors, with a 2.1-inch screen size touted as the possible dimensions. Yet the Ultra’s display is already massive and the OLED Ultra 2 puts out 3,000 nits of brightness at its peak, which begs the question of why Apple would need to upgrade either.
Kuo warns that if Apple misses the 2024 boat with Ultra 3, “the shipments of the Apple Watch Ultra are expected to decline by 20–30% YoY in 2024, and the total Apple Watch shipments will decline by 10% YoY in 2024 to about 35 million units.”
While historically, Kuo has offered stellar insight into Apple’s future plans and products, his track record of late has been chequered, to say the least. Most recently he stated there were no MacBook or iPad launches on the cards for 2023, days before Apple announced its October 30 event. The company is expected to unveil new M3 Apple silicon chips and new Mac models.
What's more, December is still weeks away, and plenty of time for Apple to get its act together and start developing the Apple Watch Ultra 3, which would definitely be the best Apple Watch to date.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9