Remembering the very first (unofficial) Apple Watch

Apple iPod Nano watch straps by Vorya.
(Image credit: Vorya)

The Apple Watch Ultra just became a little bit more tempting for the scuba diving community thanks to the new Oceanic+ app from Huish Outdoors. The app unlocks the scuba diving potential of the Apple Watch Ultra, turning it into a personal dive computer on your wrist and making use of its depth gauge and water temperature sensors. 

Yes, I know what you’re thinking - finally! If you’re an Apple Watch Ultra owner I bet every day you’ve been looking at the clunky yet feature-packed hunk of expensive metal on your wrist, with its virtually unscratchable sapphire crystal face, and thinking, ‘Gee, when will I be able to go scuba diving with this thing, Apple?’

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Let’s be honest, like most people who own an Apple Watch Ultra, you use about 10% of its functionality. You bought it simply because it was the biggest, baddest, most expensive Apple Watch you could get, and you just wanted to show off. That’s OK, I’m sure that’s why everybody else got one, too. 

But really this new app is just further evidence for why an Apple Watch Ultra would be completely wasted on me. I don’t go scuba diving, I don’t climb mountains or trek across deserts. I’m not an endurance athlete, outdoor adventurer or an ocean explorer. In fact, I’m still making do with a Series 5 Apple Watch from a few years ago that I haven’t felt the need to upgrade. 

The 6th generation iPod Nano

Thinking about the Apple Watch and how far it’s come from its humble beginnings reminded me about the time when people used to sell watch straps that fitted the old 2010 iPod Nano (6th generation) — the one that looked a bit like an Apple Watch screen, but was very square in comparison. The 2010 iPod Nano could play music through some connected headphones, and had 18 different watch faces. Once you attached a watch strap to it, it became the de facto first ever Apple Watch, long before Apple actually released a watch.  

I remember seeing an iPod Nano on a wrist strap for the first time and thinking it looked pretty cool, whereas now it looks like a bit of a joke. Who would have thought that 13 years on from the iPod Nano we’d have, basically, a cool-looking Apple computer on our wrists that can be used 40 metres below sea level as a diving computer. It makes me wonder where the Apple Watch is going to take us in the next 13 years, and will it make today’s Apple Watches look as out of date as a 6th gen iPod Nano attached to a watch strap?

Who knows, but to those about to go scuba diving with their Apple Watch Ultra, I salute you. I just won’t be joining you.

Graham Barlow
Group Editor in Chief, Tech

With over 25 years of experience in the technology sector Graham Barlow has written for, edited and worked on some of the best technology titles in both print and digital, like MacFormat, Mac|Life, MaximumPC and Linux Format. 


He also writes for websites like TechRadar, Top10Reviews, T3.com and blogs about martial arts.