When the Apple Watch was first released in 2015, I remember thinking that Apple should license the Apple Watch operating system to dive computer manufacturers. As an avid diver, it only made sense that a simple, bright display at 100 feet would be much better than the over-complicated gray-on-gray dive computers I’d used.
Well, it’s taken seven years, but the Apple Watch Ultra, the first major Apple Watch variant since its debut, looks exactly like the rugged, capable Apple Watch I’ve been waiting for.
Apple Watch Ultra pre-orders and release date
The Apple Watch Ultra is available to order now from the Apple Store and will begin shipping on September 23. an Ocean Band for those planning to go underwater.
With a starting price of $800, the Apple Watch Ultra is aimed not only at divers, but also at extreme and endurance athletes. It’s a tough and durable beast of a watch, and Apple has packed just about every feature into the gadget, from increased battery life to more accurate GPS to a loud siren to signal where You are.
It has all the usual features of the new Apple Watch Series 8 and SE, including new temperature sensors, ovulation estimates and collision detection, but it adds a larger screen (49mm compared to the 45mm of 8 series) and brighter (2000 nits). against 1,000 nits) as well as new standards for robustness. It’s water resistant to approximately 330ft (100m) compared to the Series 8’s 164ft (50m), IP6X dust resistant and adds MIL-STD 810H certification which means this thing meets US Department of Defense environmental engineering standards. The watch is rated from minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.
Apple Watch Ultra is crafted from aerospace-grade titanium and features a flat sapphire crystal display. Apple says the brighter screen is more easily seen in even the brightest outdoor conditions, while a turn of the digital crown switches to night mode which turns the entire screen to James Bond red.
The watch also adds a new button, which Apple helpfully calls the action button, which can be customized to quickly access features like changing workouts or marking laps. And the crown and side button have been enlarged and raised, so that they are better accessible with gloves.
The watch’s GPS has also been improved, with dual-frequency L1 and L5 bands. This is essential for serious runners who rely on accurate measurements of distance, pace and route data to train and compete.
Apple claims the battery can last up to 36 hours with normal use, and the new low-power setting extends battery life up to 60 hours, making it a good choice for multi-day hikes or other endurance events.
For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels, the new compass app in watchOS 9 (available September 12) enables precise waypoint tracking as well as bearing marking and can display latitude, longitude, altitude, and altitude. elevation and tilt. Just press the action button to mark a waypoint while hiking, and the watch will help you backtrack if you get lost.
More interestingly, the watch is WR100 and EN 13318 certified, internationally recognized standards for recreational scuba diving. The Ultra includes a new depth app that displays the time, current depth, water temperature, time underwater and maximum depth. Using the new Oceanic+ app – which will be available later this year – the Ultra functions as a dive computer. It will include dive planning, measurements, visual and haptic alerts, no-decompression limits, ascent rate, safety stop advice, and entry and exit coordinates. Upon reaching the surface, the data will then sync to a dive log on your phone. As a diver, I’m already salivating at all this.
Finally, the Ultra offers three new specialized groupsets for running, hiking and diving, each with its own characteristics that Apple says have been designed for each type of athlete. The new watch face, Wayfinder, which is unique to the Ultra, includes a compass in the face and can be customized for one of three activities the watch is intended for.
Apple makes it clear: this is not your standard smartwatch. It is aimed directly at adventure and endurance athletes and scuba divers. Apple didn’t even call it a smartwatch in its presentation but instead opted for the “sports watch” nomenclature more common to Garmin’s products.
It’s not a watch to wear to a fancy dinner party unless it’s hosted by the Cousteau Society. It’s a heavy and bulky thing. That’s overkill for those who run around the neighborhood or hit the gym three times a week. If that’s your lifestyle, stick with the new 8 Series or even the SE.
But if you find yourself on a back track, wishing for more battery on your watch or a way back to civilization, this could be a great deal. I know I am seriously considering it as a device for everyone, whether I dive or not. But that $800 price tag is definitely a deal breaker.