The new Apple Watch comes with a whole new gesture.
New watch face for the Apple Watch Ultra 2: Modular Ultra. Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable
Perhaps the most Apple moment in today’s keynote at Apple Park was the introduction of Double Tap, a new (sort of) Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 feature that lets you perform actions on the Watch by double tapping your watch hand’s index finger and thumb together.
It’s one of those things that you have to try out yourself to appreciate. Having played with it for a couple of minutes, I have no idea whether it’s going to be useful long-term, but it’s definitely really cool to do things on the Watch without even touching it (well, not counting where it touches your wrist). You can answer or end a call, browse through the Smart Stack, or start and end a timer. It’s really easy to do and it worked every time for me, though I needed to overcome my instinct to do things the regular way.
Casually scrolling through the Smart Stack by double tapping my thumb and index finger. Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable
The Double Tap is also pretty convenient in certain situations where you cannot use your other hand, for example when you need to take a photo or video of said feature in action. Again, I’m not sure how often that happens in real life — but for me, in that moment in the super-busy Steve Jobs theater, it was already a lifesaver.
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is still only available in one titanium finish. Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable
Both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are otherwise extremely similar to last year’s models. The display is brighter, though it was hard to tell during my short time with the device. The new Modular Ultra watch face on the Ultra 2 is very busy, but it looks great and it will probably be a hit amongst the folks who need to have all the info about everything around them on their wrists.
Prior to the event, rumors said that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will come with a new, dark titanium case; I’ve seen no mention of it anywhere, and Apple reps told me it’s not happening (at least not yet).
Apple’s new Alpine Loop is carbon neutral, and contains over 30 percent recycled content. Credit: Stan Schroeder/Mashable
The watches come with Apple’s new S9 SiP (that’s short for System in Package) which should make them faster. Both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 felt really fast, though it was hard to tell just how faster they are than the previous generation without thorough testing.
Same goes for battery life, which hasn’t changed; for the Ultra 2, it’s 36 hours with regular use and up to 72 hours in Low Power Mode. For the Series 9, it’s 18 hours of battery life.
Finally, the prices are the same as well; with Series 9 starting at $399, and Ultra 2 starting at $799. I’ll need to spend some more time with the new Watches to find out whether they’re worth the price.
Stan is a Senior Editor at Mashable, where he has worked since 2007. He’s got more battery-powered gadgets and band t-shirts than you. He writes about the next groundbreaking thing. Typically, this is a phone, a coin, or a car. His ultimate goal is to know something about everything.