The Apple Watch Ultra is a great smartwatch, but it’s also a brilliant marketing tool. Here’s why…

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The Apple Watch Ultra is the tech equivalent of “Do you even lift, bro?”

With 8 years in development, Apple has firmly cemented the Watch’s reputation as a device that saves lives. The Apple Watch isn’t just a smartwatch, it’s also an incredible medical and safety device that’s helped people in emergencies. Every year, Tim Cook even spends a few minutes on covering real-life stories of how the Watch saved its wearer’s life. The Apple Watch Ultra, however, doesn’t share that reputation. It’s built for extremes, for the ultra-human, whether they’re scaling mountains, crossing deserts, diving in oceans, or just pushing their bodies to the limit in the pursuit of a goal. In Apple’s own words, the Watch Ultra is an “essential tool for essentially anything”… but here’s the part Apple didn’t say out loud. They know that regular people will want the Watch Ultra too, just for the ability to portray themselves as limit-pushing ultra-humans. It’s the watch equivalent of owning a Peloton, having a bike mount attached to your car’s rear, or just taking gym selfies. The Watch Ultra is an exceptional device, but it’s also a status symbol of sorts for people who want to be perceived as adrenaline junkies and adventure lovers.

The Ultra suffix tells you practically everything you need to know about what this new smartwatch was made for. Apple doesn’t envision this to be the watch someone wears to the office, or an elderly person wears it to monitor their heart levels. This watch was designed absolutely push the limits of what a watch can do and endure. The watch sports a rugged titanium design that’s more resilient in inclement weather, including snowstorms, and is rated WR-100 water resistant as well as EN13319 certified, which means you can use it as a dive computer during scuba diving sessions.

The watch’s new design was made for easy operation even when you’re wearing gloves. The crown is thicker, grippier, and the power button more accessible. There’s even a new Action button on the opposite side for controlling the watch’s various ‘ultra’ activity tracking features, whether you’re competing in a triathlon, deep-sea diving, or even marking your position on the watch’s own mapping system during a trek. It sports a redesigned home screen interface, called the Wayfinder, that gives you access to all the important features you need during your activities, including a compass, GPS coordinates, altitude, and other useful metrics. The watch’s battery can last for 36 hours, although Apple claims that future updates can push this to 60 hours, so your watch aides you on your long, difficult journeys whether you’re trekking, camping, long-distance jogging, or completing a triathlon. The watch even comes with a ‘night mode’ that’s accessible simply by rotating the crown, which turns the interface minimal and red, retaining visibility while conserving battery… and an internal 86-decibel siren lets you attract attention to yourself in the event of an emergency.

The watch comes with a rugged titanium alloy construction and sports three different strap styles, an Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, and Ocean Band. The Watch Ultra by default comes with GPS and Cellular, and sports all the other features of the Series 8, including a much more advanced temperature tracker and period tracker, crash detection, international emergency calling, fall detection, and an always-on display. With all those advanced features, the Watch Ultra doesn’t come cheap. At $799, it costs as much as the iPhone 14 (yes, the new one), making it the most expensive smartwatch money can currently buy. However, for people heavily invested in an active or extreme lifestyle, this one might just be a doozy.

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