TechnologyApple Watch news: (almost) identical batteries, (almost) similar autonomy

Apple Watch news: (almost) identical batteries, (almost) similar autonomy

With their design similar to previous generations and essentially identical functionalities, the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 were not going to fundamentally change things in terms of autonomy.

The autonomy of the Apple Watch is one of the major concerns of users, and for good reason, no one likes to part with their watch for an hour or two while they recharge the battery. For several years now, the Apple Watch has had a battery life of up to 18 hours, depending on how you use it.

No change for autonomy and batteries

With the Apple Watch Ultra, the manufacturer has doubled the battery life, to 36 hours, by cramming a larger battery into the model’s large case. Of course, we would always want more, whether for the Series or Ultra models! But at some point, the laws of physics make it impossible to increase battery capacities in such small chassis, unless the software is carefully optimized.

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The 2023 vintage of watches unveiled at the start of the week does not revolutionize the Apple Watch family. The design does not change and the components are largely similar too, with the exception of the system-in-package — the S9 — promised as more powerful, and brighter screens. As for autonomy, it is also displayed at the same levels: 18 hours for the Series 9, 36 hours for the Ultra.

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In these conditions, it seemed quite obvious that the capacities of the batteries would be very close from one generation to the next. This is indeed the case, according to the Chinese regulator’s database consulted by MacRumors.

  • Apple Watch Series 9 (41mm): 282mAh
  • Apple Watch Series 9 (45mm): 308mAh
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2: 564 mAh

Figures to compare to the capacities of last year’s models:

Only the battery of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 shows a difference of 22 mAh, or 4% more than the previous generation. However, the autonomy remains the same, undoubtedly the combined consequence of the peak brightness of 3,000 nits (compared to 2,000 nits on the Ultra) and the larger screen size than on the Series.

Does the Ultra 2 hold up better than the Ultra 1?

In addition to these 4 small percents, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 has another ace up its sleeve: Apple promises up to 72 hours of battery life with power saving mode — it was 60 hours on the first generation. This gain of 12 hours is significant, but be careful: the measurement methodology is not the same either!

The autonomy of the Apple Watch Ultra 1st generation. © Apple
Apple Watch Ultra 1
The autonomy of the Apple Watch Ultra 2nd generation. © Apple

For the Ultra, Apple takes into account 15 hours of hiking, 600 time checks, 35 minutes of app use and 3 minutes of calls. For the Ultra 2, we upgrade to two 60-minute workouts, 360 time checks, 360 notifications and 180 minutes of app use. It is also not impossible that the Ultra 1 is just as capable of reaching the 72 hours of the Ultra 2 with this use.

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