The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is a product that’s been floating around the rumor mill for some time now. If the buzz is to be believed, and information on Apple’s 2023-2024 roadmap is correct, then we could be seeing the wearable launch alongside the Apple Watch Series 9 and iPhone 15 later this year.
That seems to have been corroborated by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a recent post on Medium, where Kuo mentions a release timeframe of “2H23,” implying the second half of 2023. But that’s not the only thing Kuo was able to let us know. According to Kuo's sources, the second-generation Apple Watch Ultra will also take a new approach to manufacturing that could speed up production and lower costs.
Apple Watch Ultra 2: The fine print
According to Kuo, Apple is currently in the process of adopting 3D printing for the production of the new Apple Watch Ultra 2. The tiny titanium parts will be printed by Apple with Farsoon, BLT, and IPG Photonics components before undergoing the CNC process ready for fitting.
Kuo believes that this will not only cut down on production costs and time but also result in better ESG (environment, social, and governance) performance for Apple — all of which seem incredibly vital to CEO Tim Cook.
The adoption of 3D printing for the Apple Watch Ultra 2 could be a trial run for Apple using similar production methods in other devices further down the line. The Apple Watch Ultra is already expected to be Apple’s Guinea pig in 2025 when it becomes one of the first of the brand’s devices to sport a fully Apple-built micro-LED display.
It's likely that the Apple Watch Ultra’s smaller scale makes it the ideal testing ground for the adoption of these new processes as Apple continues to seek out more ways to shift production in-house.
Fans of the Apple Watch will no doubt be happy to hear the news of a new model heading our way this year. If, as Kuo claims, this new manufacturing process is faster and cheaper, we could even see prices fall on Apple’s premium wearable, making it accessible to a wider audience.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.