Apple Watch Ultra 3: Everything you need to know

Apple Watch Ultra 3
(Image credit: Apple / Future)

We’re expecting a big year for the Apple Watch hardware, with reports suggesting we’ll be getting an Apple Watch X in lieu of a Series 10 to celebrate 10 years since Apple’s wearable was revealed.

Still, the product line has grown in recent years, so what of the Apple Watch Ultra 3? While there is a cheaper version of Apple’s watch with the SE series, the Ultra is the peak of what Apple is doing on a device you wear on your wrist.

Here’s everything we know about the next Apple Watch Ultra, the company’s latest rugged smartwatch.

Apple Watch Ultra 3: The headlines

  • What is it? The Apple Watch Ultra 3 will be Apple’s next rugged, premium smartwatch.
  • When can we expect it? Q4 2024;
  • Key upgrades: New color option, larger display

Apple Watch Ultra 3: Release Date Rumors

Apple Watch models tend to be revealed at September events alongside the new iPhone, so there’s a good chance we’ll see it in the same showcase as the iPhone 16 and the ‘Series X’ if it’s real.

As for sales, expect it to go up for preorder after the event and launch within a few short weeks - likely in October.

Apple Watch Ultra 3: Price Expectations

Both prior versions of the Apple Watch Ultra have debuted at $799, and with this being a slimmer year for new features, we can't see that changing this time around.

So while we don't expect a price increase, a price drop remains unlikely.

Apple Watch Ultra Models

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Watch Ultra 3: Design and Display

Ming-Chi Kuo, a longtime Apple analyst and source of plenty of leaks, has suggested the next Apple watch will be darker in color - maybe even black titanium.

We’ve previously covered why a slick new colorway could tempt us to upgrade.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 has a 1.93-inch display, but reports have suggested the third version will grow to 2.12 inches. Whether that means a larger footprint or the thinning of the existing bezels, however, it’s hard to say.

Here’s hoping Apple can remove some of the weight of the device, too - it doesn’t feel drastically heftier than rivals, but it can’t hurt.

One thing we’re not expecting though is the microLED display that’s reportedly been in the works for some time. Reports suggest this has been pushed back to 2026, and possibly further, due to issues with producing the new displays.

Interestingly, Mark Gurman has reported that the Series X could match the Ultra 3 in terms of display size, so it'll be interesting to see just how the Ultra 3 changes to differentiate itself - if at all.

Apple Watch Ultra 3: Features

New fitness features

Apple’s lengthy legal disputes with Masimo over the blood oxygen sensors in its Apple Watch models is still rumbling on, and that may have slowed down the updates on the latest Apple Watch Ultra - and the second generation was a pretty slow year, too.

We had been hoping blood pressure monitoring would be coming this year as was reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, but at the time of writing it appears quiet on that front from Apple.

That could make the Ultra a tough sell for Ultra 2 owners or even owners of the original Ultra, and with the ongoing legal battle, there's every chance blood oxygen monitoring isn't available at launch.

Apple has also reportedly been working on sleep apnea detection, but its ties to the blood oxygen monitoring that isn't available right now could mean it slips.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

(Image credit: Future)

Performance and Apple Intelligence

Reports have suggested that the Apple Watch Ultra 3, and the Series 10, will gain a new SiP (system in package) to offer additional performance and "lay the groundwork for some AI enhancements down the road".

The Ultra 2 saw the arrival of the S9 chip, which allows for more on-device processing of Siri requests, but Mark Gurman says we shouldn't expect Apple Intelligence on the wearable anytime soon.

"For now, that service is only headed to the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Later, it will come to the Vision Pro, but there are no plans to bring the full initiative to the watch," he said.

What does watchOS 11 offer?

Apple’s latest OS update for Apple Watch doesn’t offer many clues for the future of the Ultra lineup, but it does offer plenty of features for Apple Watch devices Ultra or otherwise.

The new Vitals update in watchOS 11 gives a more glanceable look at your health data, including heart rate, respiratory rate, wrist temperature, sleep, and blood oxygen, helping you understand big changes to any of those.

Training Load will also help users plan workouts based on a variety of factors, including effort levels and timing, to ensure they’re getting the most out of things. It uses algorithmic data from multiple sources.

Users will also be able to log a pregnancy within the Health app and use the cycle tracker to track gestational age, and Activity Rings can now be personalized on a per-day basis or paused if a user suffers an injury or needs a rest day.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 | $779 $719 at Amazon

Apple Watch Ultra 2 | $779 $719 at Amazon

Can't wait for the Ultra 3? Get the Ultra 2 at its best-ever price at Amazon. Including 36-hour battery life, a large display, and more. 

Price check: $799 at Best Buy | $799 at Apple

Lloyd Coombes
Contributor

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom. Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more. He’s also the Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.