Apple Watch has entered the daily life of many people, diversified sports tracking, medical-grade body analysis, but the price is set at a level that is not very expensive, so that ordinary people, sports enthusiasts, and even some players who have requirements can be satisfied. However, the world always has high requirements for Apple, hoping that they can come up with more powerful products, so the Apple Watch Ultra, the protagonist of today, is coming along with the Series 8.
This is a smartwatch aimed at high-level players and extreme athletes. It claims to have more accurate tracking, stronger design, and more diverse uses. When the Apple Watch Ultra was introduced on the stage of the press conference, one of the main selling points was that it could be used as a “diving computer”, and the editor for diving enthusiasts suddenly became energetic! In my heart, I have already planned this review today. On the other hand, I just met a professional long-distance runner when I was practicing running recently. Can the Apple Watch Ultra meet the requirements of these professionals when using and choosing sports watches? Let’s deconstruct them all in one go!
Scuba diving is an activity in which human beings carry gas cylinders with limited capacity and enter the deep sea to explore. Many different tools are needed to ensure safety. One of the important equipment is the diving computer. There are many different forms of diving computers, some are like a miniature tablet computer, and there are also watch models that are more suitable for public tastes and are also mainstream in the market, so everyone is used to talking about diving computers.
Although the name also has the word “watch”, it is different from ordinary watches that are simply waterproof. The diving computer watch is a device that continuously monitors the user’s diving time and water depth, and cooperates with the pre-input air composition before launching. The decompression theory published by John Scott Haldane in 1908 is used to calculate and give different suggestions in real time, including the maximum depth and time that can be dived, the safety stop time, and the depth trend to ensure that the user can return to the surface safely. No fatal diver’s disease (decompression sickness).
So everything makes sense. Diving requires a small wearable device with built-in multiple sensors and high-speed computing, which is exactly the scope of Apple Watch. And general diving computer watches are not cheap, they are generally more than HK$4,000 ~ 5,000, and there are also styles that combine smartwatch functions. At the same time, it becomes reasonable to price the Apple Watch Ultra at HK$6,399.
However, Xiaobian is the first to experience the Apple Watch Ultra. Strictly speaking, it does not yet have the ability of a diving computer watch, because Apple is letting diving equipment manufacturer Huish Outdoors develop a special Oceanic+ app through the Oceanic brand to deal with what Xiaobian mentioned in the previous article. Operation function. So what else can I do with a watch in my hands? In fact, it is also possible to try the performance of the hardware specifications first.
The Apple Watch Ultra has evolved to a size of 49mm, which means that it is equipped with a larger screen, and at the same time, the brightness has been increased to a maximum of 2,000 nits. Such an upgrade would make it easier for divers to see a variety of data without having to stop and squint. The case material is made of titanium alloy that is both light and strong, so that the Watch Ultra is not too burdensome when worn on the hand, and the screen is also surrounded by the case, not the exposed curved glass of the ordinary Apple Watch, which makes it durable. Greatly improved, reducing the risk of being hit by rocks on the seafloor.
Of course, when it comes to diving to the bottom of the sea, WR100 waterproof and EN13319 diving equipment certification is also a must. As for Apple’s mention that their sensors can detect water depths up to 40 meters, is this level more or less? This is actually just the right specification. Take Xiaobian as an example. After obtaining the open water diving license, you can reach a water depth of 18 meters, and then you can advance to a deeper 30 meters after obtaining the advanced open water diver qualification. Finally, you can further study ” “Deep Dive” Specialty Course to reach the absolute maximum depth of 40 meters for recreational divers! Therefore, Apple Watch Ultra is just enough to accompany us normal humans to the deepest seabed, but most of the tourist diving sites will not reach a depth of 40 meters, so the specifications can still meet the needs of many divers.
For the diving purpose of Watch Ultra, Apple designed a unique “ocean” strap, which is a tubular strap design, with an adjustable titanium ring buckle, which can fix the end strap well. However, the length of the included “standard” strap is actually short for a diving computer, because the general diving suit has at least 3mm, and if you want to dive deeper, there are 5mm, 7mm, and even dry diving like a spacesuit. Clothes, the thickness of the arms will increase a lot at this time. Taking the editor as an example, I usually wear an Apple Watch Ultra, and the marine strap will only be buckled to the middle, but if it is to be worn on a 3mm winter jacket, it will be almost the last grid number. The “smart” Apple has actually prepared it for a long time. When it is officially launched later, it will have an “optional” extended strap, which is another way to make money. Fortunately, I didn’t dive deep in Hong Kong, and the water wasn’t very cold, so I could fold the cuffs back to make sure that the Apple Watch Ultra’s strap could be worn securely.
Experienced divers usually have two diving computers for backup, and this is the case for me originally, but the old battery replacement model just ran out of power, and the rechargeable Apple Watch Ultra first solved the biggest pain point. That said, the new dive computers are now rechargeable, even solar-powered, so the advantage in a head-to-head matchup is not that obvious. Then again, as I mentioned above, the dedicated Oceanic+ app has not yet been launched during the evaluation, so what’s the use of bringing Apple Watch Ultra underwater this time? Apple still has a native “water depth” app that can display real-time depth, maximum depth, water temperature, diving time, and actual time, and compared to the Deepblu COSMIQ+ LCD screen that I am using, the OLED panel of Apple Watch Ultra is too bright. More, it is very easy to see the content, which makes people look forward to the expected launch of Oceanic+ in November.
The data of the Apple Watch Ultra water depth app is the same as the numbers of the dedicated Deepblu COSMIQ+ diving computer. Unfortunately, the Watch Ultra will only display this screen underwater. It is expected that the touch screen is locked, but it is even The crown, the new action buttons are also locked! Obviously, when Apple introduced Oceanic+, the app can interact with the physical buttons and even has the function of a compass. It seems that Apple has given Oceanic+ considerable exclusive rights, so that diving enthusiasts must pay for a subscription to use the Watch Ultra Use as a full-featured dive computer. Back to the surface, you can check the data of the last dive in the water depth app. When you go back to the iPhone, you need to go to the “Health” app to check the water temperature and water depth data, but the time is not recorded. This is another one with full-featured diving. Differences in computer functions.
Yes, Oceanic+ will be a paid third-party service, and users can subscribe by day, month, and year. I will probably pay by the day, right? After all, the diving density is not high. If you really have a plan to go diving, you will pay for the service to record. There is a cost consideration here, because from the diver’s point of view, the Apple Watch Ultra, which cost more than 6,000 Hong Kong dollars, only has hardware, and the key diving data analysis function has to pay more to use it! Why not just buy a dive computer with smartwatch functionality?
The editor thinks this way, for real fever players who often go to scuba diving, I really recommend buying a special computer watch, because it can record more data, such as being able to use wireless accessories to check the residual oxygen, and at the same time. There are advanced technical diving modes to use. The diving function of Apple Watch Ultra can only be said to be “inadequate and more than the next”. For relatively advanced diving enthusiasts like Xiaobian, there is no need to deliberately buy an extra diving computer watch that is not usually in use, as long as For a small fee, you can turn into a dual meter stream for a certain period of time. Or you are a wild child who likes to go to the mountains and the sea, and will dabble in all kinds of extreme activities, then you can also meet different requirements on one watch. However, first of all, you have to pay a high difference to start with a more expensive Apple Watch Ultra to have subsequent convenience.
Finally, I would like to mention free diving players, which is also the next activity I hope to challenge. Freedivers can dive to a depth of tens of meters by holding their breath, and they will also need a dive computer to record a variety of underwater data. According to Oceanic+, there will also be a corresponding mode, and the diving depth is also within 40 meters, so Apple Watch Ultra can also be used. But before this third-party app appeared, the native water depth app was more suitable for recording the most basic snorkeling activities.
Although some advanced runners also use Apple Watch to record their running data, some functions have always been unable to catch up with other specialized brands. Coming to Apple Watch Ultra to cooperate with the latest watchOS 9 finally brought such a distance much closer. The editor himself is not sure, so the following is a quote from professional long-distance running coach Su Kainan after the trial.
In terms of hardware, because advanced runners also need to monitor their performance from time to time, including speed, heartbeat, time, etc., the larger and brighter screen of Apple Watch Ultra is also a rare thing for runners. upgrades to make it easier for them to see real-time data. Although the Watch Ultra is increased to 49mm, it is actually compatible with the 45mm strap, so the original straps can also be used.
In terms of operability, unlike the crime of non-war, which will automatically lock the screen when the editor is diving, sweating after running will also affect the accuracy of finger operation of the screen. directly affects data collection. Apple Watch Ultra has added a physical action button Action Button, which can imitate the operation of traditional running watches and can control various watch functions in real time.
Do you think the Apple Watch Ultra of more than 6,000 Hong Kong dollars is to break the ceiling of running watches? No, because there are already similar super-high-end models on the market, which are also used by professional runners. The difference between low-priced and high-priced running watches is not only the use of special materials such as titanium alloy and sapphire glass for the watch body, strap and screen, but also different functions. For example, some high-end, expensive stopwatches can have GPS and more complex sports modes, which are also new features of the Apple Watch Ultra. Of course, individual features are still lacking in Apple Watch Ultra, but overall they are almost the same. When it comes to GPS, Apple Watch Ultra supports L1 + L5 dual-frequency GPS, and with the recorded route backtracking function, it allows runners to track their own pace more accurately, and they can turn back when they accidentally run to an unfamiliar place.
Further down is how some new features brought by watchOS 9 can help runners’ training. You can also learn from it to make better use of Apple Watch data. In terms of data collection, Apple Watch Ultra can see the runner’s real-time heart rate zone, and can also see advanced information such as power, touchdown time, and vertical amplitude in the fitness app.
From the perspective of professional runners, power is a number that street runners have paid much attention to in recent years. Coach Su explained that this can reflect whether there is a difference in the output of their strength on the flat road and on the slopes and slopes, so as to analyze their performance on different road sections. Power data generally requires additional sensors to detect, but Apple Watch can directly calculate it, which is much more convenient. Touchdown time and vertical amplitude are long-standing references that runners use to adjust their running form. Heart rate zones are also how runners understand their body’s response to different intensities of running training. For example, long-distance runners will seek to stay in a low heart rate zone to indicate that they have higher endurance to complete long-distance races. At the same time, friends who are deliberately doing aerobic exercise to burn fat will also want to keep their heart rate in zone 3 to ensure sufficient exercise intensity.
When professional runners are chasing higher performance, they will use the method of “pacing” to train. Traditionally, there will be a pacer to let other stronger runners help each other. Special running watches are also available. All have virtual tips. The running mode of watchOS 9 has finally been added. Before entering training, you can select “Set pace”, first enter the distance and the speed you want to maintain, and then the Apple Watch will have an indicator to tell Your current speed is faster or slower. In this way, the goal of average force can be achieved.
Another professional long-distance runner is using the training method, that is, interval running. This is an alternating fast and slow running training, through the stimulation of the heart rate of the higher load, the body’s lactic acid resistance ability is improved to improve endurance and speed. According to Coach Su’s experience, the intermittent running schedule that can be set by Apple Watch is more flexible. After setting several segments of A, B, C, and D, individual selections are made for repetition. The whole process is performed on the watch. Done on the screen, no need to take out the phone and wait to sync data, very intuitive.
For the Apple Watch Ultra’s two tests of diving in the sea and walking on land, we can see the upgrades in hardware design and software functions, so that this smart watch can adapt to the user’s activities in more different situations. At the same time, I also see that Apple needs to expand the ambition of high-end products, not only to allow their brand to appear in more different places, but also to increase the revenue on the financial report and make good performance. Of course, Apple Watch Ultra can indeed cater to more different types of activities, but it is a question mark whether it can take a share of the pie as a newcomer in the high-end market firmly occupied by its own inherent brands.
Taking the diving function as an example, although the Apple Watch Ultra is set at an upper-middle price, the actual function is not complete. It has to wait for the finished product of third-party developers, and it cannot meet the needs of real advanced players. It is really tasteless. Location. In the professional running world, the competition for Apple Watch Ultra is even more difficult, because runners have long been accustomed to a set of tools of their own brands, and at the same time, the brand itself has a deep community of runners, and mutual communication has a high degree of brand adhesion. Therefore, many runners prefer to wear two watches to enjoy different functions on both sides.
Therefore, when Apple allows Watch Ultra to enter multiple specialized fields in one go, in addition to providing functions that can match its competitors, customer loyalty, which is also valued by the high-end market, needs to be managed. It depends on how Apple will cultivate Watch Ultra’s broad and deep image of a universal smart sports watch in multiple specialized sports fields in the future.