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The Apple Watch Ultra Is the Rugged, Adventure-Friendly Smartwatch You’ve Been Waiting for

The device has a 49 mm titanium case and is the brand's most capable model yet.

After years of incremental upgrades and tweaks, the Apple Watch is ready to take a giant leap forward.

The tech giant finally unveiled the long-rumored Apple Watch Ultra on Wednesday. The brand’s new top-of-the-line smartwatch sports an all-new design and a slew of new features that make it its most capable model yet—by a mile.

The first thing you’ll notice is how big the Ultra is. With a 49 mm titanium case, it basically looks like a small iPhone with a bracelet attached to it. Size isn’t the only aspect that sets the Ultra apart from its predecessor. It also has a much heartier look, with a sharp-edged screen, which is topped with a flat sapphire crystal and boasts 2,000 nits of brightness, a button guard, chunky digital crown and a new programmable action button. The new buttons and crown have all been specifically designed to work with gloves. It’s also water resistant up to 100 meters and comes with one of three new action-oriented bands, the Trail Loop, Alpine Loop and Ocean Band.

The Apple Watch Ultra and the Trail Loop, Alpine Loop and Ocean Band

The Apple Watch Ultra and the Trail Loop, Alpine Loop and Ocean Band (from left to right)  Apple

The Ultra’s rugged design isn’t just a stylistic choice, it serves a real purpose. More so than any other previous Apple Watch, the Ultra was designed for activity. Whether you’re a fitness freak or an adventurous explorer, it’s packed with features you’ll actually make use of. These include improved multiband GPS, a reworked Compass app that lets you mark spots on a map, a Backtrack mode in case you retrace your steps and the new Oceanic+ app to record depths and metrics when you’re in the water. There’s also a new Night mode, that turns the display red for better visibility in low-light conditions.

The watch also has a couple of new safety features that could prove to be vital. The first is an 86-decibel siren, that will help others find you should you become lost or injured. The device’s battery will also last 36 hours, though Low Power Mode can extend that up to 60 hours. It also still has all the health features of previous Apple Watches, like heart rate readings and step counting.

The Apple Watch Ultra's new Night mode

The Ultra’s new Night mode  Apple

The Ultra wasn’t the only new Apple Watch the brand debuted on Wednesday. The brand also announced the Series 8, the latest iteration of the stylish smartwatch you already know and love, and the second generation of the more budget-friendly SE, which lacks some of its siblings’s features but will still work for most people. Those two watches will go on sale Friday, September 16, and start at $399 and $249. The Ultra will follow a week later, on Friday, September 23, and starts at $799.

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