Apple Watch Goes Ultra
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Sep 7, 2022, 4:31 PM by Rich Brome @rbrome
Apple has refreshed its Apple Watch lineup with Series 8, a new Watch SE, and added a larger, more rugged Apple Watch Ultra for athletes and extreme adventurers.
- Apple Watch Series 8 has two main upgrades over Series 7: temperature sensors and Crash Detection. The temperature sensors are primarily for detecting ovulation. Two sensors, (one to compensate for ambient changes,) take readings every five minutes during sleep. This is used to detect biphasic shift, so the watch can provide retrospective alerts about ovulation. It can also detect cycle deviation, which could indicate a serious health issue. Crash Detection uses upgraded sensors to detect a severe car crash and automatically call for help. The features uses an "improved" 3-axis gyroscope, high-g-force accelerometer, and the barometer (to detect airbag deployment). It samples 3000 times per second, but only when it detects you are in a moving car. When it detects a crash, it calls 911, shares your location, and calls your emergency contacts. The design and other features are similar to the Series 7. Color choices (for aluminum) are: Midnight, Starlight, Silver, and Product Red. It starts at $399 for the smaller 41mm size, in aluminum, without cellular. Add $30 for the larger 45mm size. Add $100 for cellular. Add $300 for stainless steel. It ships Sept. 16th.
- Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen.) is just $249, or $299 with cellular. It also gains Crash Detection, and it's powered by the same 8th-gen chip as the Series 8, making it 20% faster than the 1st gen. Watch SE. It will be available in Midnight, Starlight, or Silver. Like the Series 8, you can order today and it ships Sept. 16th.
- Apple Watch Ultra (shown) has a flat sapphire crystal face and ultra-rugged titanium body. It adds a new, customizable action button, alongside larger standard controls designed to work with gloves. Improved GPS now supports the L5 band for better performance in challenging areas such as urban races. A new compass app includes waypoints on the face and automatic backtracking. A bigger battery offers 36 hours of battery life. It's twice as waterproof, able to withstand depths of up to 100m, and designed for SCUBA diving at up to 40m. It automatically shows a depth gauge when submerged, and Apple teamed with Huish Outdoors to develop Oceanic+, an app that turns the watch into a dive computer. Its rugged cred includes MIL-STD 810H rating for low pressure (altitude), high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock, rain, humidity, sand and dust, freeze/thaw, ice/freezing rain, shock, vibration, and more. It has three mics and two speakers for clearer calls (cellular is standard). Those speakers can emit an 86 dB emergency siren that can be heard 600 feet away. A software update coming this fall will enable a new 60-hour low-power mode, as well as automatic detection when you arrive at a running track, for more accurate run tracking in that environment. It also includes all of the features of the Series 8. Apple designed three new types of bands for the Ultra, tailored for different activities. The Alpine Loop is for "outdoor adventurers", and is rugged and secure. The Trail Loop is for "endurance athletes", and is light, thin, stretchy, and easy to adjust. The Ocean Band is for "water sports and recreational diving", and has a stretchy design that can fit over a wetsuit, with a titanium buckle to keep it secure. The Apple watch Ultra comes in one size (49mm) and one color (titanium). It costs $799 and ships Sept. 23rd.
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