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Apple unveils new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple’s 2023 ‘Wonderfull’ event is all about new tech — and although the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro phones are undoubtedly the stars of the show, there’s also a new range of smartwatches set to hit Aussie stories.

Starting today, customers can order the Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2 directly from Apple and selected retailers. Both devices come with upgraded hardware and software, and are designed to seamlessly integrate with your iPhone, iPad or Mac.

The Watch is a classic option for everyday users wanting to keep an eye on health and fitness, while the advanced Watch Ultra is suited for outdoor enthusiasts and more extreme physical activity. Read on for all the details on what’s new with each Apple Watch.

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Apple Watch Series 9

Apple Watch Series 9 range

  • Features new S9 SiP watch chip and Apple’s watchOS 10
  • Crack-resistant front crystal and Always-On Retina display
  • 18 hour all-day battery life
  • Designed for general health and fitness tracking

Apple has lifted the lid on its Watch Series 9, the latest line-up for the company’s best-selling wearable. The Series 9 comes with an all-new S9 SiP watch chip with a 4-core Neural Engine, which offers machine learning processing up to two times faster than the Watch Series 8. It’s also more power-efficient, giving users all-day, 18-hour battery life. 

This year’s Watch comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes, and doubles the maximum brightness of the Apple Watch Series 8. The Watch Series 9 offers up to 2000 nits in bright sunlight, as well as a minimum of just one nit in darker environments. 

In terms of software, the Series 9 runs Apple’s watchOS 10, which includes re-designed apps, new watch faces, and a new Smart Stack widget display. This is also the first edition of the Apple Watch to include on-device Siri, so you won’t need to connect your wearable to WiFi or mobile networks for requests that don’t need internet. It also means your private data, such as Health information, can be kept more secure. 

Pink Apple Watch Series 9 face

The Watch Series 9 includes Apple’s Digital Crown on top, but offers a new ‘double tap’ gesture to make one-handed controls easier than ever. Tap the index finger and thumb of your Watch hand together twice to control features such as answering and ending calls, taking photos, and playing or pausing music and alarms. 

Another key update is more precise HomePod integration, allowing you to control music and media on the pod directly from your Watch. The Watch Series 9 also packs in the essential features from previous versions, including health and fitness tracking, Apple Pay, and emergency assistance such as fall and crash detection. 

You can order the Apple Watch Series 9 from September 13, with availability beginning from Friday, September 22. Apple is offering this year’s Watch with Starlight, Midnight, Silver, Product (RED) and pink aluminium cases, and Gold, Silver and Graphite stainless steel cases. Prices are as follows:

Aluminium:

  • 41mm with GPS: From $649 AUD
  • 41mm with GPS + cellular: From $809 AUD
  • 45mm with GPS: From $699 AUD
  • 45mm with GPS + cellular: From $859 AUD

Stainless steel:

  • 41mm with GPS + cellular: From $1,199 AUD
  • 45mm with GPS + cellular: From $1,279 AUD

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Apple Watch Ultra

Apple Watch Ultra 2

  • Features new S9 SiP watch chip and Apple’s watchOS 10
  • Brightest-ever Always-On Retina display and precise GPS
  • 36-hour battery (72 hours in Low Power Mode)
  • Ultra-durable and with bands designed for underwater, alpine and trail athletes

If you’re looking for a more rugged wearable, Apple has revealed the second generation of the Apple Watch Ultra. The Ultra 2 also features the custom-made S9 SiP watch chip, giving wearers a faster and longer-lasting performance when compared to the original 2022 Ultra.

The Ultra comes with a tough, but lightweight 49mm titanium case that’s water-resistant to a depth of up to 100 metres. The Always-On Retina display offers up to 3,000 nits of maximum brightness (and as little as one nit in low light), improving useability in almost all conditions. The Watch’s Night Mode now activates automatically in the dark, and the large display includes customised real-time data along the outermost edges.  

Like the Watch Series 9, the Watch Ultra 2 will incorporate Apple’s new double tap gesture, alongside existing features including swipe, wrist raise, and cover to mute. Double tap for both the Ultra 2 and Watch Series 9 will be available next month via a software update.

Hand wearing Apple Watch Ultra and demonstrating double tap gesture

 

Apple has brought back the Ultra’s orange Action button, which enables one-press activation of a range of features: everything from starting workout modes, marking a Compass waypoint, or beginning a dive. If you’re out in the wild and need assistance, press down on the Action button to activate an 86-decibel siren, or press and hold the opposing Side button to make an emergency call. 

The Watch Ultra 2 is all about enduring rough terrain, and has been crafted for extremes at high and low altitudes. It’s full of advanced sports and outdoor features, such as updated Maps and Compass, as well as basic health and fitness tracking via ECG, heart health and blood oxygen monitoring.  

Apple is promising serious battery life with the Ultra 2: up to 36 hours of ‘normal use’, and 72 hours with low power settings enabled. In workout mode, you’ll get up to 17 hours of use per charge with Low Power Mode switch on. 

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available to order from September 13, and will hit stores on Friday, September 22. It’s offered with Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, and Ocean bands, in a variety of colours. Prices are below:

Alpine Loop:

  • 49mm with GPS + cellular: From $1,399 AUD

Trail Loop:

  • 49mm with GPS + cellular: From $1,399 AUD

Ocean Band:

  • 49mm with GPS + cellular: From $1,399 AUD

Compare iPhone plans

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The following table compares a selection of 24-month 128GB iPhone 14 Pro Max plans as published on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our phone plan comparison tool to compare plans from a range of providers.

Tara Donnelly
Utilities Editor
Tara Donnelly is an internet and mobile expert - sectors she’s spent a decade covering - and also oversees energy and consumer technology content. She holds a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Canberra and has shared her expertise on national media including 9 News, 7 News, Sunrise and the ABC.

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