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Ahead of the Oceanic+ app launching on the Apple Watch Ultra today, a few individuals received some early hands-on time with a beta version of the app. Designed by Huish Outdoors in collaboration with Apple, the app allows the Apple Watch Ultra to be used as a dive computer for recreational scuba diving at depths up to 40 meters/130 feet.

Apple-Watch-Ultra-Oceanic-Plus-Photo.jpg
Image Credit: TechCrunch

For those unaware, rising to the surface level too quickly after scuba diving can result in decompression sickness, which occurs when dissolved gases like nitrogen in the blood and tissues form bubbles inside the body due to rapid depressurization. A dive computer aims to prevent decompression sickness by measuring the depth and elapsed time during a dive and using an algorithm to warn you if you are ascending too fast.

Apple Watch Ultra uses the Bühlmann decompression algorithm, which is said to be widely used and trusted across the scuba diving industry.

TechCrunch's Haje Jan Kamps believes the Apple Watch Ultra offers a "significantly nicer" user experience than traditional dive watches:
The Apple Watch Ultra's huge touch-screen makes the user experience significantly nicer than on traditional dive watches, which can be pretty indecipherable from time to time. Think user interfaces that seem like relics from the 1980s Casio watch era, and you get a pretty good idea.
Jan Kamps praised the app's color-coded safety warnings for no-decompression limit, excessive ascent rates, safety stop guidance, and water temperature, and noted that the haptic feedback for alerts is "easily felt through a wetsuit."

All in all, Jan Kamps was impressed with the Apple Watch Ultra and said it compared excellently to his dive watch from Finnish company Suunto:
Once in the water, there is remarkably little to say about the Apple Watch Ultra as a dive computer: It's easy to use; the crown and buttons are phenomenal as far as user interfaces go, the screens are well-designed; and the important information is clear and very easy to read.

I brought my trusty old Suunto that has been with me on many a dive to serve as my secondary dive computer for these test dives. The readouts from the two dive computers were almost identical all the way through. The small differences can be attributed to having the Suunto in my pocket while the Apple Watch was on my wrist.
Jan Kamps did note that two out of around 40 divers he tested Oceanic+ with experienced unspecified issues with the app, but he was not entirely sure if this was the result of user error or whether the app malfunctioned in some way.

Apple-Watch-Ultra-Oceanic-Plus-hero_Full-Bleed-Image.jpg.large_.jpg

Priced at $799, the Apple Watch Ultra features new depth gauge and water temperature sensors that allow Oceanic+ to function. On a "cost-per-day-used basis," Jan Kamps argued that the Apple Watch Ultra is an "absolute bargain compared to every dive computer on the market today" since it can also be used for other smartwatch functions.

Conversely, CNET's Jesse Orrall said the Apple Watch Ultra being a smartwatch rather than a dedicated dive computer "sometimes made it difficult" to use. Specifically, he said most dive computers "don't have a touchscreen or a water lock, and they don't require a passcode," but it's worth noting that the Oceanic+ website says as soon as the Apple Watch Ultra enters the water, it works even without a passcode for diving.

Orrall said scrolling through the Oceanic+ screens with the Digital Crown can be tricky:
Scrolling through the various screens with the digital crown was doable in gloves, but I accidentally scrolled past the screen I wanted a few times. I wish I could use the Apple Watch Ultra's physical side buttons to "press and hold" and toggle through the different dive screens.
DC Rainmaker's Ray Maker agreed:
About the only complaint I'd have was that the digital crown underwater seemed a bit finicky in terms of over-spinning the data pages. Getting it exactly the page I want was sometimes tricky. I'd imagine with gloves it'd be messier. It's almost like the sensitivity was…well…too sensitive. But that's a minor nit overall.
Both Orrall and Maker also pointed out that the Apple Watch Ultra cannot show how much air is remaining in a tank like some dive computers can.

Overall, Maker was impressed with the app:
As for the Oceanic+ app, it's a solid starting point, especially for casual divers. It includes everything pretty much any casual diver would need, and does it in a silly easy to use fashion. I mean, you literally just drop in the water and the app automatically starts. You don't even need to press anything to use the app. During the dive, it dutifully let me know when it was time to head up, as well as would have alerted me had I ascended to fast. It also kept track of my safety stop and reminded me of that as I passed up through that depth.
Maker said the Apple Watch Ultra's depth tracking was virtually lockstep with the Garmin Descent G1 dive computer in an indoor diving facility.

Oceanic+'s basic plan for snorkelling is free and includes depth, time, and a log of most recent dives. For $4.99 per day, $9.99 per month, or $79.99 per year, more experienced scuba divers can get access to decompression tracking, tissue loading, unlimited logbook capacity, and other stats for deeper dives. Maker said this pricing is "fairly reasonable," especially for casual divers who already own an Apple Watch Ultra.

Oceanic+ is available on the App Store and requires an Apple Watch Ultra running watchOS 9.1 or later paired with an iPhone 8 or later running iOS 16.1 or later. A companion iPhone app serves as a digital logbook for dives with detailed post-dive summaries.

Apple says users should always follow diving protocols, dive with a companion, and have a secondary device for tracking depth and time.

Scuba Diver Magazine's Mark Evans also reviewed the Oceanic+ app.

Article Link: Oceanic+ App for Apple Watch Ultra Tested in Hands-On Reviews
 
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Cybbe

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For those unaware, rising to the surface level too quickly after scuba diving can result in decompression sickness, which occurs when gases like nitrogen in the blood and tissues form bubbles inside the body due to rapid depressurization. A dive computer aims to prevent decompression sickness by measuring the depth and elapsed time during a dive and using an algorithm to warn you if you are ascending too fast.
While this is generally speaking true, the Apple Watch and this app is geared towards no-decompression dives and cannot and should not be used for saturation dives. The ascent rate is to my knowledge fixed and not determined by an algorithm based on time spent at certain depths. The app will calculate the no decompression limit using a well-known algorithm, alert divers ascending faster than a pre-programmed rate (an older Oceanic dive computer I have uses 9m per minute at up to 18m depth and twice the rate deeper than that, which is pretty standard), as well as alert divers to a safety stop. It’ll also go aleft you if you do exceed NDL and tell you how to get out of deco. It won’t allow you to plan saturation dives with decompression stops as some dive computers do.

As for the app, this seems like a decent alternative for recreational divers that are already using the ultra, especially those who may dive once a year on holiday.
 

iamasmith

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I think yes for rec dive computers it will be a good option up to a point. With only Bluetooth I think the potential of linking up kit to measure tank pressure reliably (I mean certified) might be an issue.
 

anthogag

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This article would be better with a video. I guess the diver doesn't touch the screen because a wet screen can be erratic.
 

Allen_Wentz

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I think yes for rec dive computers it will be a good option up to a point. With only Bluetooth I think the potential of linking up kit to measure tank pressure reliably (I mean certified) might be an issue.
Folks should not act as if not including tank pressure is a flaw in a dive computer; it is not a flaw. Tank pressure is critical, but is totally separate from the issue of dive computing.

IMO best is to utilize a dive protocol that reads tank pressure directly, independent of whatever dive computer one uses. IMO underwater-telemetering critical tank pressure is generally a poor idea for recreational divers; just one more potential failure point. <NAUI Instructor, Scientific Diver>
 
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dorsal

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Aug 20, 2002
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I worry that people will buy the app and think they are now ready to be divers. Non-Divers note: You still need to be certified from a major scuba training agency in order for any dive resort to recognize you as a certified diver and let you dive with them.
 
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k2director

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Folks should not act as if not including tank pressure is a flaw in a dive computer; it is not a flaw. Tank pressure is critical, but is totally separate from the issue of dive computing.

IMO best is to utilize a dive protocol that reads tank pressure directly, independent of whatever dive computer one uses. IMO underwater-telemetering critical tank pressure is generally a poor idea for recreational divers; just one more potential failure point. <NAUI Instructor, Scientific Diver>
I agree. Keep it simple!…for a lot of people, at least. A tiny fraction of the diving community uses wireless tank pressure features (you have to have a wireless transmitter on your tank, and a pretty expensive dive computer on your wrist.)

Most people are fine checking their tank pressure with a physical gage.

This app (and the Ultra) is going to be very popular with rec divers, many of whom don’t have dive computers at all. Easy interface. You’re already totally familiar with it. And you can spend as little as $5 to get the functionality. I think there are A LOT of divers that dive a few times a year…now they can have a very capable dive computer for $10-$20 Or so per year.
 

Steve686

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Odd wording using the phrase “touch-screen” for a dive computer. I hope people understand the screen won’t work underwater.

I like the Apple disclaimer of using a redundant depth gauge and Watch/timer. That’s just good practice whatever computer you use.

I do have a thought.

Apple doesn’t offer a tank transmitter. I’m not sure if there is any room for the transceiver in the current Watch footprint. That would really send the dive industry into a little panic mode.
 
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Steve686

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Folks should not act as if not including tank pressure is a flaw in a dive computer; it is not a flaw. Tank pressure is critical, but is totally separate from the issue of dive computing.

IMO best is to utilize a dive protocol that reads tank pressure directly, independent of whatever dive computer one uses. IMO underwater-telemetering critical tank pressure is generally a poor idea for recreational divers; just one more potential failure point. <NAUI Instructor, Scientific Diver>

About 100 dives on a ScubaPro Galileo 2 wrist unit. Alongside Steel HP 100 Farber tanks running EAN36.

The transmitter is dependent on line of sight and battery, for the most part.

Most transmitters I have seen are screwed in directly to the first stage. This is a bad idea for a couple of reasons.

1) If you dive with an operation on their boat, the guys loading your gear may pick up the tank at the first stage by holding your transmitter. 50 pounds of pressure when grabbing the plastic housing runs a good chance of breaking the housing open. We have our own boat so this isn’t an issue here.

2) The transmitter plugged into the first stage has to get signal through hoses and metal, and also directly through/around your head to hit your transmitter. Depending on which side you screw the transmitter in, this can cause signal dropouts.

What I use is a 6-8 inch dongle that hangs the transmitter out from the first stage like an outrigger on a fishing boat. Have had no dropouts whatsoever and screw the transmitter to the left side as my computer is left wrist.

I’m in Ohio visiting family so I don’t have a pic of my rig, but here is the basic idea 86783337-9EB5-488A-AA59-284C9704DBAC.jpeg with a picture.
 

v3rlon

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Folks should not act as if not including tank pressure is a flaw in a dive computer; it is not a flaw. Tank pressure is critical, but is totally separate from the issue of dive computing.

IMO best is to utilize a dive protocol that reads tank pressure directly, independent of whatever dive computer one uses. IMO underwater-telemetering critical tank pressure is generally a poor idea for recreational divers; just one more potential failure point. <NAUI Instructor, Scientific Diver>
Unlike the added hose, because those never fail?
I have used Oceanic and Aqualung dive computers for >20 years, and have not had issues with RF transmitters sending the tank pressure to my wrist unit. My original Oceanic computer lasted until the date feature would not advance to a new year. That was pretty solid. The transmitter still works, and it is old enough to buy beer.

Now, the gripe I have here is subscription modeling. No thank you. I will use MacDive which syncs across all my devices with dive logs, takes data from the Aqualung (and many others), will include pictures, logs, GPS, and gear lists, all for a single 'buy it now' price.
 

Glenny2lappies

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I think yes for rec dive computers it will be a good option up to a point. With only Bluetooth I think the potential of linking up kit to measure tank pressure reliably (I mean certified) might be an issue.
Won't work with Bluetooth. Which is why none of the existing transmitters (Shearwater, Suunto, etc.) don't use BT, but instead use a much lower frequency. There's various transmitter standards too: Suunto's not compatible with Aqualung/Shearwater, etc.

Sadly it seems the marketeers have won their battle of "you need a transmitter to monitor your gas". Someone who can't check their pressures manually is hardly going to check their gas pressure on their computer. The beauty of a normal SPG is you can actually see the other divers checking their gas.


Subscription model: very expensive for a simple recreational diving computer. Most people diving with the Ultra will be doing the odd dive on their annual holidays. The Ultra + Oceanic apppp is an expensive way of diving when dedicated $200 computers work very well.

Hopefully there will be some competition when Apple open up the "pressure" APIs to other developers. Would be great to see Shearwater doing something as they've got the Teric watch-sized interface and a great two button control.

Will be interesting to see how reliable the Ultra is when diving. Literally a life support application on a general-purpose wrist mounted computer.
 
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Steve686

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Won't work with Bluetooth. Which is why none of the existing transmitters (Shearwater, Suunto, etc.) don't use BT, but instead use a much lower frequency.

Sadly it seems the marketeers have won their battle of "you need a transmitter to check your gas". Someone who can't check their pressures manually is hardly going to check their gas pressure on their computer. The beauty of a normal SPG is you can actually see the other divers checking their gas.


Subscription model: very expensive for a simple recreational diving computer. Most people diving with the Ultra will be doing the odd dive on their annual holidays. The Ultra + Oceanic apppp is an expensive way of diving when dedicated $200 computers work very well.

Hopefully there will be some competition when Apple open up the "pressure" APIs to other developers.

Will be interesting to see how reliable the Ultra is when diving. Literally a life support application on a general-purpose wrist mounted computer.



The transmitter's on the RHS. Good to see you've a normal backup SPG on that regulator.

Sorry. This pic is one I found on the internet because my gear is in Florida and I am in Ohio visiting family.

But yes, I do use a Mares SPG alongside my transmitter.(Computer and Transmitter left side)

Edit: and I am so redundant I use an octopus on top of an Air2 octo/inflator on my BCD.
 

Glenny2lappies

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Looks like it does have some decompression functionality built in:

This screenshot appears to show a 10 minute deco obligation (two mins for ascending the 6m/20ft to the surface). Or maybe it's a 7 min deco plus a mandatory 3 mins of safety stop...

Apple-Watch-Ultra-Oceanic-Plus-Dive-Depth_inline.jpg.large.jpg
 

ebika

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Nov 17, 2008
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Looks like it does have some decompression functionality built in:

This screenshot appears to show a 10 minute deco obligation (two mins for ascending the 6m/20ft to the surface). Or maybe it's a 7 min deco plus a mandatory 3 mins of safety stop...

Apple-Watch-Ultra-Oceanic-Plus-Dive-Depth_inline.jpg.large.jpg
I’ve been trying to decipher this too. Best I can tell, that image is when the diver blew their no deco limit and it’s in deco mode, that’s a 10’ deco stop ceiling with 2 minutes left on the deco stop countdown timer, and there is still 9 minutes and change deco time left in the dive (plus 38 sec safe ascent rate from 21’ to the surface of 33’/min). No safety stop, since it’s mandatory deco stops at that point.
 

Steve686

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Looks like it does have some decompression functionality built in:

This screenshot appears to show a 10 minute deco obligation (two mins for ascending the 6m/20ft to the surface). Or maybe it's a 7 min deco plus a mandatory 3 mins of safety stop...

Apple-Watch-Ultra-Oceanic-Plus-Dive-Depth_inline.jpg.large.jpg

Yes. It does look like a deco stop and says deco in the upper left corner.

The software would need deco functionality beyond a no-deco planned dive as plans can go to crap in a hurry.
 

noraa

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From the article:
Oceanic+'s basic plan for snorkelling is free and includes depth, time, and a log of most recent dives. For $4.99 per day, $9.99 per month, or $79.99 per year, more experienced scuba divers can get access to decompression tracking, tissue loading, unlimited logbook capacity, and other stats for deeper dives. Maker said this pricing is "fairly reasonable," especially for casual divers who already own an Apple Watch Ultra.
It's actually $0.99 per day NOT $4.99 per day. That pricing actually makes a lot of sense if you only dive a few times a year.
 

msackey

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I’m a little surprised that the Oceanic+ app isn’t connected to the Health/Fitness app. I understand that things like heart rate, GPS, etc aren’t tracked underwater but wouldn’t it be useful to have at least the time and length of activity be recorded to Health/Fitness app?
 

Glenny2lappies

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I’ve been trying to decipher this too. Best I can tell, that image is when the diver blew their no deco limit and it’s in deco mode, that’s a 10’ deco stop ceiling with 2 minutes left on the deco stop countdown timer, and there is still 9 minutes and change deco time left in the dive (plus 38 sec safe ascent rate from 21’ to the surface of 33’/min). No safety stop, since it’s mandatory deco stops at that point.
Wonder if it is saying to ascend to 3m/10ft in two minutes time for the 8 min deco stop?

That's odd as one would expect it to say "stay at 6m/20ft for 2 mins" as the ceiling's not yet 3m/10ft.

I guess expecting to see SurfGF is too much!
 

msackey

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On an unrelated note: maybe this is obvious so call me ignorant since it's not too clear to me, but are there any concerns about the Ultra being used in a salty water environment? Are there concerns about reaction between salt and titanium? Or, are there special care processes one needs to take with the Ultra after a day in the sea besides say rinsing off with water and soap?
 

Steve686

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On an unrelated note: maybe this is obvious so call me ignorant since it's not too clear to me, but are there any concerns about the Ultra being used in a salty water environment? Are there concerns about reaction between salt and titanium? Or, are there special care processes one needs to take with the Ultra after a day in the sea besides say rinsing off with water and soap?

There are Titanium encased regulators and first stages. It is used because of Titanium’s superior resistance to corrosion and saltwater. Also the reason the screws in my knee from ACL reconstruction are pure Titanium.

Simply drop in the rinse bucket, no soap, and swash around to get the salt out of the crevices and you are good to go.
 
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msackey

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There are Titanium encased regulators and first stages. It is used because of Titanium’s superior resistance to corrosion and saltwater. Also the reason the screws in my knee from ACL reconstruction are pure Titanium.

Simply drop in the rinse bucket, no soap, and swash around to get the salt out of the crevices and you are good to go.
Thank you! Good to know. It's been a LONG time since I dipped in the sea (and I've never snorkelled or scuba dived) but am curious :)
 
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