Apple Watch Ultra Becomes a Diving Computer with Launch of Oceanic+
Initial reviews of the Apple Watch Ultra were very positive, highlighting the device’s 49mm titanium case, larger display with a flat sapphire crystal cover, new bands designed for the outdoors, water resistance up to a depth of 100 meters, customizable bright orange “Action” button, up to 60 hours of battery life.
If you’re looking for a chunky action watch with good battery life and a strong feature set, this is an excellent and good-value choice. And it’s on that basis that I’m going to give the Apple Watch Ultra 4.5 stars out of 5.
In September, Apple announced a new wearable called the Apple Watch Ultra, and one of the company’s key pitches for the device was its use as a diving computer. Now Oceanic+, the app that makes that feature possible, launched exclusively for the Ultra, Apple announced today.
The Watch Ultra has depth gauge and water temperature sensors that drive some of the features in the app. To access a few of those features—such as decompression tracking—you’ll have to subscribe to the app’s premium version for $4.99 per day, $9.99 per month, or $79.99 per year.
There’s also a family plan at $129.99 annually. If you don’t subscribe, you can still use some key features like dive logs, depth tracking, and so on. The app—which was developed in partnership with Apple by a company called Huish Outdoors, lets you track dive conditions like tides, water temperature, and more.
In the dive planner, users can set their surface time, their depth, and their gas, and Oceanic+ will calculate their No Deco (no-decompression) time—a metric used to determine a time limit for a diver at a certain depth. The planner also integrates dive conditions, including tides, water temperature, and even up-to-date information from the community, such as visibility and currents.
Post-dive, users will see data—including GPS entry and exit locations—automatically pop up on Apple Watch Ultra, along with a summary of their dive profile. The summary on the Oceanic+ iPhone app provides additional information, including a map of entry and exit locations, as well as graphs of depth, temperature ascent rate, and no-decompression limit.
What’s so special about the Apple Watch Ultra?
Meet the most rugged and capable Apple Watch ever. With a robust titanium case, precision dual-frequency GPS, up to 36 hours of battery life, the freedom of cellular, and three specialized bands made for athletes and adventurers of all kinds.
Is Apple Watch Ultra too big?
It can look large depending on your wrist size, plus it’s thicker than you might expect. If you can comfortably wear a 45mm Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Ultra may not feel too much bigger, but it sits higher. It’s heavier than the 45mm Apple Watch Series 8, but not so much so that it’s super noticeable.
Do you need the Apple Watch Ultra?
Most new features of the Apple Watch Ultra targets athletes, adventurers, and explorers. Therefore, most people do not need the additional motion and depth sensors in the Apple Watch Ultra. For instance, the Apple Watch Ultra has a Retina display with a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits.
How is Apple Watch Ultra different?
Apple Watch Ultra features all-new apps for scuba and free diving, a redesigned compass, a robust yet lightweight titanium case, precision dual-frequency GPS, and up to 36 hours of battery life.
Is Apple Watch Ultra worth the extra money?
Buy only if you take your sport seriously
The Ultra offers features found in a dive computer such as tracking depth, water temperature, dive time and an underwater compass. Getting precise metrics while on a run or having access to emergency services while hiking off the grid could be worth the money.
Is the Apple Watch Ultra better than the series 8?
If you need a more durable Apple Watch with features like a brighter display, louder speakers, a more reliable GPS, better water resistance, and more, the Apple Watch Ultra is undoubtedly the best choice.
A lot of the features focus on either planning dives in advance or viewing dive reports after you’re done, but for those that you use underwater, the app utilizes haptics to send you alerts. The Watch Ultra’s very bright screen can help with legibility underwater, too.
The app doesn’t work with other Apple Watch models. To use it, you’ll need an Apple Watch running watchOS 9.1, and that Watch must be paired with an iPhone 8 or later running iOS 16.1.