The Apple Watch Ultra, a $799 wearable designed for people who engage in extreme activities like mountain climbing, ultramarathon running, or scuba diving, was unveiled by Apple on Wednesday. However, as MacRumors notes, breaking the watch while engaging in any of these activities might be quite costly: repairs for the watch will cost $499 if you don’t have AppleCare Plus (we’ll talk about that in a moment). That costs a lot more than the $299 fix for a basic Series 8 car.
Additionally, replacing the battery on an Ultra will cost $99 as opposed to $79 for Apple’s less extreme devices. That does make sense; given that Apple predicts the Ultra would last twice as long as the Series 8, it most likely features a larger battery.
I appreciate that it’s amusing to make fun of Apple’s occasionally outrageous pricing—I still occasionally chuckle at the $19 microfiber polishing cloth—but I can kind of see why the Ultra’s repairs will be so expensive. In general, Apple Watches are small and glued together, neither of which makes for simple repairs. As a result, Apple essentially has two choices when you bring it a broken watch: either discard it and send you a refurbished model, or employ professionals to properly fix it. Neither of those choices is really affordable.
The hefty cost of repairs for the Ultra is not unusual, fair or not. Apple estimates that a Titanium Series 7 Edition repair would cost the same $499, which makes sense given that the Ultra is constructed of the same material. Apple didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment on whether it would cover shipping for the Ultra too. Those aren’t even the most expensive repairs, though; if you break your ceramic Series 5, you could be out $800 if you want it fixed without AppleCare Plus. (A footnote does say that shipping is free for Apple Watch Editions, where you have to pay for it otherwise.)
However, since we’re talking about AppleCare, that’s the real answer here. Apple’s Ultra protection plan costs $100 up advance (or $4.99 per month), which reduces repairs to a much more affordable $79. You’ll benefit greatly from AppleCare if you ever need to get your Ultra fixed, which is likely if you’re one of the “outdoor adventurers” Apple is selling the watch to. Additionally, Apple recently changed the policy such that it now covers limitless repairs rather of just two per year. This is great news for people who plan to push themselves and their equipment to the maximum.