On Wednesday, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Ultra, a $799 wearable designed for people who participate in extreme activities such as climbing mountains, running ultramarathons or diving. But if MacRumors points outbreaking the screen, button, sensors, or other various parts while doing any of these activities can be very expensive: repairs for the watch cost $499 if you don’t have an AppleCare Plus (we’ll get to that in a moment), according to an estimation tool on Apple’s website. That’s significantly more than the $299 repair for an entry-level Series 8.
Replacing the battery on an Ultra also costs more than Apple’s less extreme watches, costing $99 instead of $79. That makes sense; the Ultra probably has a much larger battery than the Series 8, as Apple estimates it will last twice as long.
While I understand it’s always fun to make fun of Apple’s sometimes outrageous prices—I still have to giggle at the $19 microfiber cleaning cloth at times—I kind of understand why the Ultra’s repairs cost so much. Apple Watches are generally small and glued together, and none of these factors make for easy repairs. That leaves Apple more or less two options when you send it your broken watch; it can just recycle it and send you a refurbished one, or it can hire people with serious skills to actually fix it. Neither option is really cheap.
Fair or not, the Ultra’s high repair price is not unique. Apple estimates you’d pay the same $499 to get a Titanium Series 7 Edition repaired, which equates to the Ultra being made from the same material. (A footnote does state that shipping is free for Apple Watch Editions, which you otherwise have to pay for. Apple didn’t immediately respond. The edge‘s request for comment whether it also covers shipping of the Ultra.) Those aren’t even the most expensive repairs, though; if you break your ceramic Series 5 you might be out $800 if you want to get it fixed without AppleCare Plus.
Speaking of AppleCare, that’s really the solution here. Apple’s protection plan for the Ultra is $100 up front (or $4.99 per month), and that will cut repairs down to a much more manageable $79. If you only get your Ultra repaired once — and let’s face it if you are one of Apple’s “outdoor adventurers” market the watch to, you’ll probably have to at some point – you’ll be way ahead with AppleCare. Plus, Apple just made it so the policy covers unlimited repairs instead of just two a year, which is a boon for those who will push themselves and their gear to the limit.