A Few Thoughts on the Apple Watch Ultra

I’ve been on a journey with the Apple Watch Ultra. When rumors of a “Pro” Apple Watch first began to surface, I was against the idea. I always appreciated the way you could buy any Apple Watch and still get the same features and processor. This new hypothetical watch would break that.

However, over time I came around to the idea. As Apple products mature, they diversify. In every class of Apple hardware (Macs, iPhones, and iPads) there are consumer products and “Pro” products. Why wouldn’t that also happen for the Apple Watch, which had a slow start but is now very much a success? A MacSparky Labs member also pointed out to me in one of our meetups that having a “Pro” class of Apple Watch also lets Apple try features and hardware that isn’t appropriate or ready for the standard Apple Watch.

So that was my mindset as Apple announced the Apple Watch Ultra yesterday. The Ultra accomplishes what I’d hoped. It gives Apple the freedom to make an Apple Watch very much not for the masses. The Ultra is bulky with a big battery and a lot of accommodations for its active users that would not appeal to everyone. So the Ultra is an offshoot of the Apple Watch, and it looks like it is well suited for that job. I’m looking forward to early reviews.

It does make me wonder, however, if Ultra is not the only class of offshoot Apple Watches. For example, I’ve heard from doctors that rely on the Apple Watch for communications and images when working rounds. Could Apple make a watch that serves them better? Likely not. Apple doesn’t generally seem inclined to split their product lines very much, as the iPhone mini could attest. Still, it’s a fun experiment to imagine where else they could go.