The latest technologies from Apple Inc. are designed to help you be more adventurous outside, become a better content producer, and keep yourself alive, according to the firm.
That’s the feeling I received after evaluating Apple’sApple’s most high-end products, including the new iPhone 14 lineups, Apple Watch Ultra, and AirPods Pro 2. Yes, they’re pricey, but many will believe the new offers make them worthwhile.
Apple is introducing three new watch models (Apple Watch SE, Series 8, and Ultra), two iPhone models (14 and 14 Pro in two sizes), and the second-generation AirPods Pro. As a Bloomberg Pursuits journalist covering lifestyle items, I will focus on the ones with the most features and hence the most expensive—the Apple Watch Ultra (starting at $799) and iPhone 14 Pro (starting at $999).
Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra, with its 49mm titanium casing and tough design, is not your average smartwatch. Yes, it has all of the features of previous Apple Watches, but it can withstand heavy outdoor situations.
The Apple Watch Ultra’sUltra’s programmable ” action button” is on the device’s left side and is covered in a hue known as “international orange.” It’sIt’s a new piece of hardware designed to make the watch easier to use. You can track workout intervals, start a built-in diving computer (the Oceanic+ app by Huish Outdoors LLC, available this fall, which automatically launches after you submerge and calculates and monitors dive parameters), set a stopwatch, or drop waypoints—geographical pinpoints—along your route by pressing the physical button.
When combined with dual-frequency GPS, the waypoints function allows everyone from hikers to persons living in crowded metropolitan areas to properly document the spots they’ve visited and retrace the route they traveled in case they get lost. Although I did not test the GPS in the woods, the function’s operation felt natural. A single action button presses a pin on your position, and a simple scroll of the crown on the right side of the watch will return you to the last spot you dropped. Within the Action Button app, the “Backtrack” option will chart the route you’ve traveled.
The regular Apple Watch Series 8 also has an upgraded compass that allows waypoint dropping and backtracking. Still, it requires more manual maneuvering without the action button—which is probably fine for many folks who don’t worry about getting lost in the wilderness regularly.
In a noisy environment—say, because of the harsh wind on a mountaintop or the hustle and bustle of a big city—the Apple Watch Ultra has an upgraded microphone system to pick up your voice for clear phone calls, as well as a new speaker that can blast a loud emergency siren that Apple says can be heard up to 600 feet, or 180 meters, away. (The demonstrator at the presentation said it was too loud to test there.) Another lifesaving function, also available for the Series 8, is a new sensor to detect a car crash and notify emergency services.
Along with older features for tracking sleep, ECG, heart rate, and blood oxygen, both watch models added two sensors, one on the back of the device and the other inside and behind the display, to discern changes in body temperature. Apple pitches the feature as a family planning tool: By wearing the watch all the time, women can track their ovulation cycles (after it analyzes at least two months of temperature readings) and decide on the best time to get pregnant. The idea seemed cool, but I have reservations about wearing a chunky device on my wrist to bed. And to voluntarily relinquish so much data and control to a piece of technology gave me a bit of Black Mirror flashbacks.
The Apple Watch Ultra, priced at $799, can also sustain 36 hours of battery life or 60 hours on a low power setting, endure temperatures from -4F to 131F, and remain water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters.