Get started today Apple Watch Ultra owners can download the tech giant’s new diving app Oceanic Plus to turn its newest wearable into a recreational dive computer.
The Depth app on the Watch Ultra can already tell you the temperature and depth of the water. Oceanic Plus (Opens in a new tab displays the same information, but if you want to take diving more seriously, you’ll need something more. The app houses a no-decompression timer to set limits on how deep you can dive and for how long so users don’t suffer from decompression sickness. The app’s user interface (UI), displays brightly colored indicators that let you know when it is safe to dive deeper, slow down, or stop. The UI is a major focus of the developers, as traditional dive computers can be difficult to understand for beginners.
Scuba Diving: Planning ahead
The app also includes a dive planner that allows you to see the conditions for the day, including currents and tides. A surface time can be set up to indicate when you will return. After you get out of the water you will receive a summary report detailing how far you swam, along with other details. To get a more detailed report, download the iPhone app. This will show you how fast you dived and any wildlife you might have spotted. Some reports (opens in new window) do claim the iPhone app “needs a little bit of work” due to some “graphic inconsistencies” like text misalignments.
Notifications are sent via vibrations that penetrate wetsuits as thick as 7mm (roughly 0.27 inches). The announcement stated that haptic feedback was selected because it propagates better underwater. If you’re diving with someone who has a dive computer that beeps, it can be difficult to determine where a sound notification is coming from. Oceanic Plus has the ability to reconfigure the Action button, so that the app can still be used without a wetsuit. Oceanic Plus will launch into a predive screen when you press the button before diving. Your location is marked by pressing the button mid-dive.
Before downloading the app, you need to make sure your Watch Ultra is running watchOS9.1 and it’s paired up with an iPhone 8 or later. However, you can use an older-generation iPhone SE with iOS 16.1 installed. Oceanic Plus is free, but for $9.99 a month, new features can be added like “decompression tracking [and] location planner…” The base app has “common dive functions” such as a timer and depth indicator.
It’s important to reiterate that Oceanic Plus is more for recreational diving. The app can only work underwater to 40m (130ft). Also, it can’t keep track of a scuba tank’s oxygen level as other diving computers can.
Oceanic Plus won’t be available on any other Apple device. It was specifically designed for the Watch Ultra. The device is WR100 certified and EN 13319 certified. The former means the Watch Device can survive depths to 100 meters (although Apple recommends don’t go more than 40) while the latter means it’s “internationally recognized” as a diving accessory.
The Watch Ultra’s $800 price tag makes it more expensive than other dive computers, which can cost anywhere from $1500 to a few hundred dollars. But given the Watch Ultra’s utility and more friendly UI, Oceanic Plus could possibly set a new standard for recreational divers.
If you’re in the market for a new wearable device, be sure to check out TechRadar’s Recently updated top 10 smartwatch lists.