1 comment Facebook Twitter Reddit
AppleInsider may earn affiliate commissions for purchases made through links on our site.
After being announced on stage with the Apple Watch Ultra, Oceanic+ is now available for download on the App Store. Let's go hands on to check it out.
One of the most unique aspects of the Apple Watch Ultra is its ability to function as a complete dive computer for recreational divers. Apple didn't take on the software side of this, instead relying on third-party developers.
The first one is the Oceanic+ app. It was unveiled during Apple's fall event with the promise that it would hit the App Store before the end of the year — and the company got the job done.
With a maximum operating depth of 40 meters, the Apple Watch Ultra is designed to withstand the increased pressure that recreational dive computers must experience. No other Apple Watch has this feature.
Follow AppleInsider on YouTube
Even before entering the app, Oceanic+ offers seven different extensions that you can add to your watch face. There are different styles of complications, some of which only work in certain positions.
Complications can show flight time, maximum altitude, Oceanic+ launch, scheduler, settings, and surface time. Some support minor complications while others support Angular complications.
When you launch the app, you can use it to scuba dive for free. It will show you how many dives you have completed during this session, water temperature, total duration and maximum depth.
For diving enthusiasts, this will be a useful helper app for getting data that many dive computers won't notice, like how many times you dive. The fee is charged only if you wish to use the Oceanic+ dive app.
Oceanic offers users three subscription options. There is a $0.99 one-time day pass to try out the app, a $9.99 monthly choice, and a variable rate yearly option.
The monthly option will be the most common for your typical diver who only does this a few times a year. You can subscribe while you're on vacation and end your subscription when you're done instead of paying for the entire year.
The annual subscription is $79.99 for a single user or $129.99 for a family. It will be ideal for avid divers who are constantly hitting the water.
There is some planning before every dive. Oceanic+ helps with this.
One thing that needs to be planned is the location. With Oceanic+ you can enter your planned dive site to see all the information you need about your dive.
It can display water temperature, wind speed, UV index, tide and three-day forecast. If you're diving outside of where you live, this is important to make sure you don't have to make unexpected bumpy trips to your dive site.
Then there is a no decompression scheduler. The no decompression limit is how long a diver can stay at a given depth, so entering information about your next dive and planned depth will let you know how long you can stay at depth.
For example, we can stay at 60 feet for 42 minutes without logging a recent dive. Once you register a dive, the algorithm takes into account that — next to air type — when calculating time on the day.
During a dive
The Oceanic+ app can automatically start logging a dive as soon as you jump into water. This is a setting that you can enable the first time you open the watch app.
Experienced divers will be familiar with all the information that Oceanic+ will display during the dive. You will see your depth, no decompression limit, dive time, min to surface and water temperature.
There is also a built-in compass. The compass has 3D tilt compensation, so no matter how you navigate underwater, it will still point you in the right direction.
For alerts, the app uses both colors and touch feedback to grab your attention. It can warn you if you are climbing too fast or if you are in a safety stop.
If a safety stop is required, it will touch you at a depth of 15 feet and count down for a three-minute duration. If you go up too fast, an alert will appear and your wrist will vibrate.
The only problem we see is if you have something thick like a 7mm wetsuit or long gloves over the wetsuit. The Apple Watch Ultra doesn't have a powerful enough Taptic Engine, so a wetsuit makes it hard for you to feel them.
Post Dive Checkin
Once you emerge from the water and get to a dry enough shelter where you can safely reach your iPhone, you'll see your dive sync with the included iOS app.
It will be written to your dive log and will automatically extract most of the information that you would normally have to enter manually. At the top there will be a map — using Apple Maps, of course — showing points of entry and exit from the water.
Below you will find four charts reflecting your immersion. One graph shows depth, another graph shows water temperature, a third graph shows ascent rate, and the last graph shows no decompression limit.
Everything is displayed throughout the dive. It's cool to see, for example, how the temperature drops as the depth increases. This will make the thermocline.
Your dive profile also lists the duration of the dive, maximum ascent rate, minimum temperature and maximum depth.
Your logbook allows you to record other important dive information. There are three sliders to record visibility, surface conditions, and water flow. It even has a list of possible dive types to classify, such as wreck, wall, fresh water, and so on.
Huish Outdoors, Oceanic's parent company, also has a long list of diving equipment you can specify. The problem is that the list is a bit limited, it doesn't include every brand or piece of equipment on the market.
This allows you to include only other items in the kit that are explicitly mentioned. So if you were wearing something like a Scuba Pro computer with a head-up display, you couldn't include it in your gear list.
Finally, you can write down any notes or information you might have about dive buddies.
Some don't like the idea of a subscription model versus a standalone dive computer. This is understandable, because many people do not like how applications are monetized.
Huish Outdoors does not benefit from the sale of Apple Watch Ultra equipment. Setting a high app price will limit casual divers from trying the app. It's also not ridiculously priced.
Many dive computers cost between $300 and $400 for a one-time purchase — but cannot be worn as a casual watch. They may lack Bluetooth connectivity and are not as comfortable as the device you already have on your wrist.
You can buy a regular Apple Watch and dive computer — starting at almost $800 — or you can buy just the Apple Watch Ultra and pay for the app when needed.
Dive computers comparable to the Apple Watch Ultra include the Garmin Descent MK2 for $1,400. You can buy an Apple Watch Ultra and pay for eight years of Oceanic+ for less than MK2.
Be that as it may, the app is well designed, easy to use and provides a wealth of information for beginners and frequent divers alike.
Oceanic+ is now available for free on the App Store.