One of our first goals was to keep it intuitive. People who know how to use an Apple Watch already know how to use this dive computer, because it’s telling them things in a simple format they can understand.
Mike Huish, CEO of Huish Outdoors
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November 28, 2022
Reach new depths with the Oceanic+ app and Apple Watch Ultra
Available today, the Oceanic+ app on Apple Watch Ultra turns Apple’s most rugged watch into a powerful and easy-to-use dive computer
Today, the Oceanic+ app comes to Apple Watch Ultra, turning Apple’s most rugged watch into a fully capable, easy-to-use dive computer. Designed by Huish Outdoors in collaboration with Apple, Oceanic+ enables recreational scuba divers to take the watch they wear every day to previously unreachable depths — up to 40 meters, or 130 feet, to be exact — with the all-new depth gauge and water temperature sensors on Apple Watch Ultra.
The Oceanic+ app on Apple Watch Ultra and the companion app for iPhone provide all of the key features of an advanced dive computer, robust dive planning, and a comprehensive post-dive experience.
“At Huish Outdoors, our purpose is fueling the human spirit for adventure,” says Mike Huish, the company’s CEO. “Oceanic+ on Apple Watch Ultra is one of the biggest innovations to hit the dive industry in a long time. We’re creating an accessible, shareable, better diving experience for everybody.”
When the first scuba divers took to the seas in the 1950s to explore the depths of the world’s waters, dive computers were still approximately 30 years away. By the ’80s and ’90s, many certified divers were still putting pen to paper to create their own dive tables. Using the Bühlmann decompression algorithm, they would track their depth and the time spent in the water to ensure they could safely plunge beneath the surface without overburdening their bodies with nitrogen.
Today, Apple Watch Ultra completely transforms this experience, giving recreational divers a more convenient, accessible device with all the features users already know and love on Apple Watch.1
“There’s now a companion that communicates clear and timely information to divers,” says Andrea Silvestri, Huish Outdoors’ vice president of product development and design, who led the creation of Oceanic+. Silvestri has been testing Oceanic+ on the watch underwater to get the app ready for launch.
He credits Apple Watch Ultra for its intuitiveness, allowing divers to stay in the moment focused on their environment without the burden of making mental calculations and complicated button clicks required by other dive computers. “From Apple Watch Ultra’s large, bright Retina display and dual-core S8 SiP, to its compact size, to the Digital Crown and dedicated Action button, and even the haptics, which are designed so well and are so noticeable in the water, there’s never been anything like this in scuba diving before now,” Silvestri says.
Built for endurance, exploration, and adventure, Apple Watch Ultra is certified to WR100 and EN 13319, an internationally recognized standard for dive accessories, including depth gauges.2 The 49mm titanium case and flat sapphire front crystal reveals the biggest and brightest Apple Watch display yet, which — at up to 2000 nits — provides exceptional visibility underwater. The Action button can be customized to launch the Oceanic+ app into the predive screen, and during a dive, pressing the Action button will mark a compass bearing.
Silvestri recalls the early ’90s when he designed his first dive computer. “Most dive computers use a similar algorithm, but people basically need a degree to understand what the information is telling them,” he says. “One of the most revolutionary things about our new app is the user interface: the colors, the animations, with a single arrow telling me to ‘go up,’ ‘go down,’ ‘stop’ — that’s the easiest way to relay that information.”
“One of our first goals was to keep it intuitive,” says Mike Huish. “People who know how to use an Apple Watch already know how to use this dive computer, because it’s telling them things in a simple format they can understand. The navigation menus are simple — scrolling with the Digital Crown and using the Action button, you can navigate and use all the functionality of the dive computer while diving.”
In the dive planner, users can set their surface time, their depth, and their gas, and Oceanic+ will calculate their No Deco (no-decompression) time — a metric used to determine a time limit for a diver at a certain depth. The planner also integrates dive conditions, including tides, water temperature, and even up-to-date information from the community, such as visibility and currents. Post-dive, users will see data — including GPS entry and exit locations — automatically pop up on Apple Watch Ultra, along with a summary of their dive profile. The summary on the Oceanic+ iPhone app provides additional information, including a map of entry and exit locations, as well as graphs of depth, temperature ascent rate, and no-decompression limit.
One of the most intuitive features of Oceanic+ on Apple Watch Ultra is the haptic feedback, a design feat of both the hardware and software that enables the watch to tap users on the wrist through a series of vibrations, allowing divers to feel notifications underwater — even through a wetsuit that’s 7mm thick.
Though haptic feedback is a convenient, simple feature for everyday users, underwater, it plays an unexpected role: cutting through the noise of echoing sounds.
“Sound propagation in the water is much more powerful than in air,” Silvestri explains. “So if I’m diving with someone and their dive computer is emitting sound, I can’t really recognize if it’s my beep or it’s theirs. I’m hearing a beep, but I don’t know the direction. Incorporating the haptics designed for Ultra, we’ve made the experience very personal; it’s like a gentle nudge to guide you.”
The Oceanic+ app also offers complications that bring important information and tools to users at a glance, including no-fly time, surface time, quick access to the dive planner, dive settings, current elevation, maximum elevation allowed, and a quick access button back into the app. From planning the dive, to the first jump in, to their first step back on land, users can track and compare all of the details of their dives and share their experiences with fellow divers right from the app.
Ask any diver to describe what it feels like to dive, and they’ll share a variety of sensations. For Huish, it’s an element of flight and complete relaxation. Silvestri calls it a state of meditation: “It’s your time for yourself — it’s just you and your breath, surrounded by fish and a fantastic environment.”
Nick Hollis, the brand manager for Oceanic at Huish Outdoors who became a certified diver when he was 10 years old, talks about the thrill of venturing into the unknown. “The most exciting part is when you are making the initial descent to a reef or shipwreck — whatever you’re going down to see,” he says. “You may be lucky enough to see a giant manta ray, a school of hammerhead sharks, you could see dolphins. It’s really an unknown every time you make that jump in.”
Olivier Laguette, Huish Outdoors’ vice president of marketing, likens it to journeying into outer space — there’s a weightlessness and freedom that’s unachievable on land.
Oceanic+ was designed to assist anyone looking to dip a toe into the adventures that await in the underwater world. The app teams up with Apple Watch Ultra to handle all of the complex calculations required to explore the ocean safely, offering simple, easy-to-understand cues and guidance before, during, and after a dive.
It marks a new chapter in a century of exploration — and a half century of advancements in computing.
“One of the few sports where a computer is kind of a must-have is scuba diving,” says Silvestri. “Not everyone is a scuba diver every day, but diving is something we think people should be able to enjoy, spending time in the water and developing an even greater respect for nature. And that’s actually the main message, going back to Jacques Cousteau 50 years ago: We need to ride this wave; we need to have more people in the water.”
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