Apple Enters the Dive Computer Market With the New Ultra Watch
If you are a scuba diver and also an Apple Watch fan, there is some good news for you - the Cupertino company has teamed up with Oceanic to launch a new Apple Watch Ultra that, when paired with the Oceanic+ app, can be used as a full-featured dive computer.
To support the scuba diving functionality, Apple has added depth and water temperature sensors to their Ultra watch model. Additionally, the device is certified to EN13319, which is an internationally recognized standard for dive accessories, including depth gauges.
With its 100m/328ft water resistance, and a depth gauge capable of measuring down to 40m/131ft, the Apple Watch Ultra is designed for recreational scuba and freediving only (and the manufacturer states as much).
That being said, with the Oceanic+ app on board, the device surely won’t lack any of the standard dive computer features. The users will get at-a-glance info about current depth, water temperature, time underwater, and max depth reached.
The app, running the Bühlmann decompression algorithm, will also include:
- dive planning,
- integrated compass,
- easy-to-read dive metrics,
- visual and haptic alerts,
- no-decompression limit,
- ascent rate,
- safety stop guidance,
- personalized user profile,
- reports on current and local dive conditions,
- dive logbook that can be shared with family and friends and synced to iPhone.
You can get the data from your dive immediately after surfacing - including your GPS entry and exit points - and profiles are organized in an integrated logbook.
According to Apple, “The Oceanic+ app on iPhone goes beyond calculating just depth and time by integrating local conditions like tides, water temperatures, and even community‑fed info like visibility and currents.”
As for the menu navigation, you can access additional screens by turning the Digital Crown. Furthermore, color coding is used to make complex information easy to understand.
Build and Design
Needless to say, the Ultra isn't just a dive computer - it's meant as an all-around rugged outdoor watch with all the features to accommodate those with active lifestyles. Some examples are resistance to extreme temperatures, dual-frequency GPS, and the Action Button (on the case's lefthand side) that can be customized for different activities.
The watch design reflects that it’s geared towards the outdoorsy type. The Ultra has the largest and most rugged casing of any Apple Watch. The titanium enclosure measures 49mm making it 4mm bigger than any watch the company has made. The screen is completely flat, and the housing is raised to protect the sapphire edges from bumps.
The watch promises 36 hours of battery life on a single charge and up to 60 hours with battery optimizations that are coming via a software update later this fall.
Finally, Apple is introducing three new bands to accommodate the needs of different adventures. The Ocean Band for divers, molded from fluoroelastomer rubber, is lightweight and flexible. It features a titanium buckle and a spring‑loaded titanium adjustable loop that are supposed to provide a secure fit, even during high‑speed water sports.
Price and Availability
The Apple Watch Ultra itself will be available from September 23rd and retail for $799.
The Oceanic+ app is also expected to launch later this fall. There will be a free version of the app, but that will not include the decompression info as well as forecasts and dive conditions reports. For the full version of the app, you’ll need a paid subscription: $4.99 a day, $9.99 a month, or $79.99 annually.
Additionally, Oceanic has several exciting accessories in development for use with the Oceanic+ app, one of which is the Oceanic+ Smart Housing. Used with an iPhone, it will allow users to take color-corrected pictures while seeing their dive computer information overlayed on the iPhone. The Smart Housing will be available in the summer of 2023.
What Will This Mean for the Dive Computer Industry?
It was Garmin’s debut on the dive computer market with their hugely successful line of multisport watches that signified a shift in the industry and, for the first time really, showed it was possible to combine a fully functional dive computer and a daily wearable smartwatch.
Wondering how Apple Watch Ultra Compares to Garmin Dive Computers?Read Garmin Watch Reviews
Now, with another multisport device by Apple, a company that has a history of putting legacy businesses out of business, many have started wondering - is this truly the end of the dive computer industry as we know it?
As neither the Apple Watch Ultra nor the Oceanic+ app has been tested by the diving community yet, there are currently more questions than answers both regarding the industry as a whole and the success of this particular device.
Will the wireless air integration be added sometime down the line? How long will the battery last in “dive mode”? How will the computer behave if you exceed the 40m/131ft depth limit? How good the readability and UX actually are?
Until those questions are answered, we are left to wait in anticipation to see if this is a revolution or just another one of the high tech toys.