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Images of an Alpine Loop prototype designed for a black Apple Watch Ultra model today surfaced online, supporting rumors that Apple had plans to release a darker version of the device last year.

black-apple-watch-ultra-band.jpg

Prior to the release of the Apple Watch Ultra 2, multiple rumors suggested that Apple had plans to release a new darker color option that was originally tested for the previous model but ultimately canceled. When the device was announced in September 2023, it continued to only be available in the same natural titanium color as the first-generation model.

Now, further indication has emerged that Apple had plans to release a darker color option. The latest images, shared by "DongleBookPro" on X, show a blue Alpine Loop prototype with an anodized black titanium hook and lugs. The released version of the Alpine Loop has natural titanium trim to match the Apple Watch Ultra's casing.


Apple released the blue version of the Alpine Loop alongside the Apple Watch Ultra 2, supporting previous indications that the company had concrete plans to release the Apple Watch Ultra 2 with a black color option. In November, documents filed with the United States Federal Communications Commission revealed a black Apple Watch Ultra with a matching dark ceramic back, cementing the validity of earlier rumors.

apple-watch-ultra-prototype-fcc.jpg

The reason for Apple's decision to cancel the new colorway is unknown, but there is a chance that the company deemed the finish insufficiently durable for a device focused on withstanding extreme challenges. There have not yet been any rumors to suggest that Apple plans to revive the black colorway for the third-generation version of the device, but it could still be a possibility given how far developed the darker finish was for the current model prior to its release.

Article Link: Band Designed for Black Apple Watch Ultra Surfaces Online
 
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HeavenDynamic

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2015
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This is reminding me of the Gold iPhone X situation. Everyone thought it would come in gold and they were even gold iPhone X sent to the FCC for regulation tests but it didn't come to reality before the iPhone XS. I think we might see a similar situation with this black Ultra.
 

CharlesShaw

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2015
1,512
2,397
I thought the main point of having a raw Titanium color is so that it ages beautifully, means one fewer thing to worry about the coating getting peeled or scratched off.
My take was that it was simply utilitarian and it was that color because, yes, that’s just Titanium, and would probably get roughed up with use, so beauty was never part of the presentation, IMO.
 

Robert.Walter

macrumors 68040
Jul 10, 2012
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Could very well have been a batch to test finishes for some generations down the line. There are probably other colors tested too.
 

Royksöpp

macrumors 68020
Nov 4, 2013
2,334
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My guess is it failed the durability tests. There is no way an anodized color like that could be durable enough for that kind of watch. The dark MacBooks can barely hold up to light impacts, imagine what a watch in that finish would look like?
 

GrindedDown

macrumors 6502a
Jun 4, 2009
715
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One very plausible reason for a last minute cancellation of the color was the current lawsuit that led to a temporary ban on the ultra 2 and series 9. If Apple had the knowledge a ban was possible prior to launch, they would certainly want to limit the number of impacted SKUs for such a product. The additional sku may have further driven sales and those extra sales would result in additional damages that need to be paid in the lawsuit or it would raise the settlement amount of the lawsuit.

I believe this is why we don’t currently have a space gray ultra 2.
 
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Supercyborgninja

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2022
193
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I think the ultra is more interesting and attractive than the boring slab of glass with a crown that is the regular Apple Watch at this point.
If you want to argue it’s not ugly or not the ugliest, I think you’d be able to get me pretty good on that.

To argue it looks better than the regular Apple Watch? Yeah that’s like a Musk fan saying the Cybertruck is nicer looking than a plain Mercedes SUV.

It’s just not true by fact.
 
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