The Apple Watch Ultra, which goes on sale on 23 September, can be used as a dive-computer at depths down to 40m with the addition of a new version of the Oceanic+ app already used with iPhones.
The £849 Ultra is certified to WR100 (waterproof to 5 bar), twice the resistance of the Apple Watch Series 8, to allow it to be used with air or nitrox at normal recreational scuba depths. It is also certified to EN13319, the international standard for depth gauges and other dive accessories.
The watch has its own basic built-in Depth app, which shows current time, depth and maximum depth while under water (to a maximum 40m), but Apple has also linked up with Huish Outdoors, which owns the Oceanic brand, to turn the Apple Watch Ultra into what they both describe as a “capable dive-computer”.
The Oceanic+ app is based on a Bühlmann decompression algorithm. The watch’s new Action button can be programmed to launch it instantly on dives, with time, current depth, water temperature, duration under water and maximum depth reached then displayed. Underwater control is through the buttons and a digital crown redesigned to be easier to turn with gloves.
“Unlike most dive-computers, Oceanic+ app uses simple gestures to operate,” says Huish. “The app provides all the safety warnings smartly colour-coded to make complex information easy to understand.”
Dives can be planned directly or using the app on an iPhone, with no-decompression times based on the input depth, selected gas and surface time. Dive conditions such as tides, water temperature and the latest community-supplied data on aspects such as visibility and currents can be factored in.
Oceanic+ also offers a personalised user profile and dive logbook. After a dive, data including GPS entry and exit location automatically syncs to the diver’s iPhone and the Cloud to display a shareable summary of the latest dive profile.
New single-size Ocean Bands made from a stretchable elastomer with titanium buckles are available for divers in three colours: Midnight, White and Yellow.
The redesigned 49mm case is titanium, and the watch comes with a magnetic fast charger. Maximum battery life has been boosted to 36 hours by fitting a bigger battery. And a new 86dB siren might come in useful for divers needing to attract attention at the surface.
Less welcome news is that the free version of the Oceanic+ app will enable only snorkelling with the Apple Watch Ultra. US subscription price for the full scuba version is $80 annually ($10 a month or $5 a day)
Apart from telling the time, the Ultra model includes all the features that Apple says have made the Apple Watch the world’s best-selling smartwatch since it was launched eight years ago – from heart-rate monitoring and ECG and blood oxygen apps to activity rings and mindfulness, along with additional health, safety and navigation features.
New topside features include temperature-sensing for women’s health, cycle tracking to indicate underlying health conditions, vehicle crash detection and recycled elements in the watch’s construction. More information can be found at Apple and Oceanic.