Apple Watch Ultra 2’s battery boost may not be as great as it sounds

 Apple Watch Ultra 2
Apple Watch Ultra 2

Battery capacity isn’t something Apple shares when it announces new hardware, with the company preferring to discuss stamina in terms of days and hours of usage.

But, according to MacRumors, the information on the upcoming Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 has been hiding in plain sight in a Chinese regulatory database.

The site reports no change on the Apple Watch Series 9’s capacity, with the 41mm and 45mm models staying at  282mAh and 308mAh respectively. Despite this, the watch is still rated as good for 18 hours of use — presumably because the promised 25% efficiency savings of the new S9 chipset have been absorbed by the brighter screen, which can now reach 2,000 nits.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2, meanwhile, is a bit larger — though not by much. The site claims the battery has a 564mAh capacity — up from 542mAh (or about 4%) on the Apple Watch Ultra 1.

Again, Apple says that the Ultra 2 is still rated for 36 hours in regular use (with the S9 chipset’s efficiency helping to make the screen an even more searing 3,000 nits), but here’s where it gets a little confusing. The company also says that the Watch Ultra 2 can hit up to 72 hours in low-power mode — and that’s up from 60 hours on the original.

That sounds like the S9 chip might offer some clever tricks to eke out a bit more juice in battery-saving mode, but maybe not. As also spotted by MacRumors, the fine print for each demonstrates that the figures are reached via different methodologies.

The 60-hour figure is arrived at with 15 hours of hiking, “over 600” time checks, 35 minutes of app use, three minutes of talk and 15 hours of sleep tracking. The 72-hour total, meanwhile, comes from 360 time checks, 180 minutes of app use and two hour-long workouts with music via Bluetooth. In other words, we’re comparing apples and oranges here.

Hopefully the extra battery capacity means that users can eke out a few more hours from the watch, especially with some setting tweaks. Watch out for our full review soon, where we’ll dig into that and more, so you know whether to upgrade when the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is released on September 22.