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Apple Watch Ultra hands-on: Built for the great outdoors

Apple Watch Ultra hands-on: Built for the great outdoors

Video transcript

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BILLY STEELE: At Apple's iPhone 14 event, one of the biggest announcements wasn't a phone, but a watch. For the first time in a long time, Apple has redesigned its trademark wearable to be more rugged for outdoor use, whether that's running, hiking, even diving. While the Apple Watch Ultra doesn't look like your common outdoor watch, it does look like an Apple Watch that's been upgraded so you can take it outdoors.

The first thing that strikes you about the Apple Watch Ultra is how much bigger it is. It's significantly larger than the largest regular Apple Watch, and if you put them side by side, the Ultra is considerably larger. Now, the bigger watch brings with it a host of upgrades due to the bigger size. First of all, there's a bigger display, which means you can fit more information right on the home screen.

Of course, Apple has designed new watch faces specifically for the extra real estate, including a Wayfinder watch face that puts a compass alongside eight other complications so you can see a host of data without having to swipe away. Not only is the new display larger, but it's also brighter. In fact, Apple says it's twice as bright as any previous Apple Watch display.

So in addition to the two existing buttons on the right side, there's the new action button on the left side, and the first time you press it-- somebody already assigned this one to start a workout. But the first time you press it, the watch will ask you to assign a task to it. In this case, it's starting a workout. Once the workout started, you can press it again and mark a segment.

Some of the more significant upgrades, though, are on the inside. Apple has updated the GPS to offer more accurate location tracking, which is going to be a big upgrade for people who like to hike, run, and train and need detailed stats and detailed location information so they can find their way back or track their progress Apple also increased the waterproof abilities of the Apple Watch Ultra. So it's a better watch for diving at deeper depths, and it should withstand more extreme water sports than the regular Apple Watch model.

Coming into the event, one of the rumors that we had heard about the Apple Watch Ultra is that it would have longer battery life, and that proved to be true. Apple says you can expect up to 36 hours of battery life on the watch, and a new low-power mode can extend that up to 60 hours on a charge. Obviously, standing outside the Steve Jobs Theater here at Apple's HQ, we're not going diving, and we're not taking a hike. So some of those more detailed, advanced features are going to have to wait until we get our hands on a review unit.

As you might expect, all of these upgrades come at a significant price increase. The Apple Watch Ultra will cost $799 when it goes on sale September 23, and it's available for pre-order now. For more info on all of Apple's new watches, phones, and AirPods, keep it locked right here at Engadget.

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