Apple Watch Ultra is ready for your Ironman racing and training needs

Anyone who’s a fan of Apple products but also an avid long-distance athlete has been waiting for this moment – the time when Apple finally got serious about us long-distance people and created a watch designed to take the ultimate event. Triathlon athletes aren’t the only ones who will be thrilled with this new watch – adventure enthusiasts will love this new watch, too.

We’ve had a chance to take a quick look at Ultra – and here are some initial thoughts:

The new Apple Watch Ultra features a custom aeronautical titanium chassis that fires first impressions of the new watch — it’s durable, looks great, but also remains lightweight. Titanium extends up and over the front crystal for frontal impact protection.

This flat sapphire crystal on the 49mm case shows off the largest and brightest screen we’ve seen on an Apple Watch. The biggest addition for triathletes, however, is the new “Action” button that makes the Apple Watch Ultra an invaluable training tool — I still struggle to call it the much-requested lap button that serious athletes wanted in previous iterations of the Apple Watch.

In keeping with the outdoor/adventure theme, the buttons on the Ultra are designed to be used while wearing gloves — the Digital Crown is 30 percent larger than other Apple Watches, too.

There are a variety of bands available to Ultra for different activities including Alpine, Ocean and Endurance.

Battery life

The Apple Watch Ultra features the largest battery in an Apple wristband, offering a whopping 36 hours of battery life that can be extended to 60 hours in low power mode. This means that you have to go through Iron Man without any problems, and keep track of your data along the way.

You don’t lose a lot of functionality when you go into Low Power Mode – it turns off the always-on display, reduces cellular connectivity and limits some background features. Workouts still retain full GPS and HR readings. Low power mode can also be turned on just for workouts.

GPS performance and safety improvements

Ultra provides greatly improved GPS performance using dual frequencies (L1 and L5) to provide accurate GPS. There is also a redesigned compass app and an undo feature that will allow you to track your steps if you find yourself in trouble. There is even a built-in siren that can be heard up to 180 meters away.

Sports friendly

This new action button can be set to allow you to start your workout right away, and you can use it to get accurate lap times. While the Ultra automatically detects when you transition from swimming to cycling to running (and even transitioning) during your multi-sport workout, you can use the action button to get accurate times as you move through each stage of your race, too.

You can customize the action button for much more than just starting exercises or taking courses – it can set a compass waypoint, start a backtrack and more.

Ultra includes all the greatly improved sports metrics and health monitoring available on the Apple Watch Series 8, too — we reviewed them last week..

The Ultra is adventurous ready and even built for watersports — this fall Apple will release a new diving app for certified divers. It’s twice as water-resistant as previous Apple Watches, so athletes won’t have any worries about using it in all of their training.

Fault detection

New Apple Watches use improved accelerometers and gyroscopes to detect extreme impacts and sudden changes in speed. So now in addition to the Apple Watch’s fall-detection capabilities while you’re walking, running, or biking, your watch can reach emergency services or contacts if you’re in a situation, too.

We’ll have more about the new Apple Watch Ultra as we have more time to play with this new training tool.