When the first Apple Watch came out in 2015, it showed no signs of ever really becoming a serious tool watch. Apple hadn't met certain standards to serve the out-of-door community, and, for some of us alfresco types, Apple's largely connected products contradicted our want as well as need to dissociate, get lost, and leave these new modern times.
I don't really do ultramodern technology outside. I am more likely to scuba dive with a mechanical watch, indeed precious stretch Rolex Submariners and sundry other old- academy divers. Get me off the grid, and I will use a paper map or even simple compass and the setting sun to find my way. So you can see why I would never think of using an apple watch.
However, during fall Apple gave us just those features we were wanting in the Apple Watch Ultra. It's a larger tool watch, but light weight and tough in titanium, that could take a beating, get wet, and maybe indeed trust our survival when stuff goes sideways outside. Last week, Apple launched the Oceanic app, which turned the Ultra into a completely featured dive computer. And yes, now we can take it scuba diving.
Apple, a company heavily invested in our interests with displays of all sizes, was claiming to serve our desire to dissociate and get lost in nature. As you can presume, I was very skeptical. Surely no single tool watch, still sophisticated, could do it all — let alone a smartwatch. But Apple wanted to prove that the Ultra could be that one tool for people like me, so the company invited a group of columnists to Kona, Hawaii to journey, hike, trail run, scuba dive and further with the Ultra. Gear Patrol reached out, allowing I might cast a particularly critical eye.