Apple Watch Goes Far Out with Ultra, Stays Grounded with the SE & Series 8

Apple delivers a few key updates with the Series 8, but went to the extreme with the rugged Apple Watch Ultra.

Apple has created a lot of hype around its new Apple Watches, dropping an extreme sports watch they're calling the Apple Watch Ultra alongside the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) at the tech giant's September 7 "Far Out" event. The new Series 8 contains a few essential new features like fertility tracking and crash detection, while the Ultra increases durability, water resistance, depth pressure, and more.

Related: October Apple Event 2022: New iPad & Mac on the Way!

2022 Apple Watch Line Price & Availability

Apple Watch SE (2nd Generation)

  • Price: Starting at $249
  • Colors: Aluminum Midnight, Starlight, and Silver
  • Size: 40 mm, 44 mm
  • Availability: Preorder open now; available in stores* September 16.
    *Customers in AustraliaCanadaFranceGermanyIndiaJapan, the UAE, the UK, the US, and more than 40 other countries.

Apple Watch Series 8

  • Price: Starting at $399
  • Colors: Aluminum Midnight, Starlight, Silver, and (PRODUCT) Red. Stainless Steel Gold, Silver, and Graphite
  • Size: 41 mm, 45 mm
  • Availability: Preorder open now; available in stores* September 16.
    *Customers in AustraliaCanadaFranceGermanyIndiaJapan, the UAE, the UK, the US, and more than 40 other countries.

Apple Watch Ultra

  • Price: $799
  • Colors: Titanium starlight
  • Size: 49mm (find out if your Apple Watch band will fit here)
  • Availability: Preorder open now; available in stores* September 23.
    *Customers in AustraliaCanadaFranceGermanyIndiaJapan, the UAE, the UK, the US, and more than 40 other countries.

Apple Watch New Features: The Basics

The three new Apple Watches dropped at the September 7 event all contain pretty cool upgrades. Some of the best new features include Car Crash Detection and Low Power Mode, as well as a Temperature Sensor for women’s health (only available on the Series 8 and Ultra). The second-gen Apple Watch SE maintains its more affordable price tag by omitting Series 7 features like the Always-On display, Blood Oxygen, and ECG app. Let's get into the basics of what we'll see in the new Apple Watches.

New Apple Watch SE 2nd gen

Ovulation & Fertility Tracking 

Apple is touting its new Temperature Sensor as a way to track fertility and ovulation. The Temperature Sensor can be used to track menstrual cycles, estimate ovulation for family planning, and can even retrospectively gauge when a person has ovulated based on those temperature readings. According to Apple, the thermometer works by way of two sensors in the watch, one on the back of the watch nearest the skin, and another just under the display, which the company claims will help to reduce outside influence over the temperature readings. This feature is only available on the Series 8 and the Ultra, and all the data collected from the Temperature Sensor will be available in the Health App, and all the new Apple Watches will have the Cycle Tracking app. 

Temperature Sensor for new Apple Watch Series 8

Crash Detection

In addition to the helpful Fall Detection feature on the Apple Watch, Apple has now dropped a Crash Detection feature, which Apple says can detect when you are in a collision and help you call for assistance. The feature works with both your Apple Watch and iPhone to get help in the most efficient way possible. When a car crash is detected, the option to call emergency services will appear on your Apple Watch, while the call is placed through your iPhone—if it is in range—for the best possible connection. According to Apple, data to create the algorithm was collected from new motion sensors at crash test labs in simulated real-world accidents, including head-on, rear-end, side-impact, and rollovers. Crash Detection is available on all the new Apple Watches: Series 8, SE (2nd generation), and Ultra.

New Crash Detection on new Apple Watches

Low Power Mode

Finally, a feature Apple Watch lovers have been dying for: Low Power Mode comes to Apple Watch, and in my opinion, it's better late than never! As any iPhone user is familiar with, Low Power Mode allows you to use your phone in a more battery-efficient way to prolong your iPhone's battery life. This new mode will temporarily disable or limit select sensors and features, which does include the Always-On Retina display, workout autostart, heart health notifications, and more. The new Low Power Mode can extend battery life to reach up to 36 hours for Apple Watch Series 8 with your iPhone nearby. Low Power Mode will become available with watchOS 9 on September 12, and will work on the Apple Watch Series 4 and newer. 

Rugged New Apple Watch Ultra

Introducing new Apple Watch Ultra

Apple's most extreme smartwatch yet, the Apple Watch Ultra is an intrepid adventurer's dream. The Ultra is for people who want a watch that they can take with them to the top of a mountain and the bottom of the sea. The Ultra is designed for extremes: extreme temperatures, extreme depths, and extreme weather conditions. The watch is not only bigger with a flatter screen that is lifted slightly higher up off the wrist than other Apple Watch models, it also has an additional customizable Action Button. The Action Button seems to work in a myriad of ways depending on what activity you are performing or app you are using. It can be used to start and stop workouts, drop a waypoint icon, launch the Depth app, and more.

Increased depth pressure and durability

The watch is compatible with extreme water sports like kiteboarding, wakeboarding, and scuba diving up to 40 meters. The Apple Watch Ultra also features all the cool new updates that the Series 8 received in addition to these adventurous upgrades.

New Action Button on Ultra

    To accompany all the new features, the latest Apple Watch software, watchOS 9 will available on Apple Watch Series 4 and later for public download on Monday, September 12, and requires iPhone 8 or later and iPhone SE (2nd generation) or later running iOS 16.

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    Author Details

    Rachel Needell's picture

    Author Details

    Rachel Needell

    Rachel Needell is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life, a published poet, and a longtime Apple enthusiast. Before graduating in the spring of 2021 with her Master’s degree in Literature, specializing in early 20th-century American and British Modernism, she was a college writing tutor and University English professor. Her latest piece, "Temporizing: Self Portrait" can be found in the Winter '21 edition of New Note Poetry. Although an enthusiastic traveler, you can most often find Rachel curled up under a blanket with a glass of red wine, reading a book with her cat Blue in Charlotte, North Carolina.