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Finally, it's Apple Watch time

Michael deAgonia | April 10, 2015
Pre-orders start Friday; sales (and deliveries) begin two weeks later.

Some companies are responding by changing how information is delivered. The New York Times has said it plans to offer one-sentence articles, succinctly summing up news so that the marrow of a story can be digested on the go. For those that spend a lot of time staring at their phone, this is the beginning of a trend that accentuates what the Watch is great for: important data in bite-size bits.

For road-warriors, the Watch will be even more useful. Apps like the one used by Starwood hotels and resorts will assign you a room so you can bypass the front desk and unlock your door with a wave of your wrist. Airline apps will store and display relevant flight and boarding data (as well as scanable barcodes that can be used to quickly get by security without fumbling for paperwork). If you travel for work, these kinds of changes will save you a lot of time.

That's true, too, when you're away from home and don't know exactly where you're going. Not only are you a tourist but you look like a tourist, too, fumbling for directions on your phone. While the iPhone's map applications and GPS are extremely useful in navigating to destinations, the Watch will offer more discreet directions along the way to your destination.

Apple's Maps and third-party Watch apps like City Mapper both offer haptic feedback to directions in the form of taps on your wrist. This silent information lets you know exactly where you're going in strange cities, without the hassle of staring at your phone's screen. The City Mapper app even features mass transit data and will tap your wrist when it is time to get off at train, subway and bus stops without making it obvious.

If walking isn't your thing, the Uber app -- it was highlighted on stage during last month's Apple event -- allows you to book a car using your current location, also providing you information and a picture of your ride and driver, right on the wrist. And of course, you'll be able to pay for things using Apple Pay with a flick of the wrist.

The point is, all kinds of data will be available at a glance, and all of it can be personalized to your specific needs. Better yet, Apple execs are already looking beyond the upcoming launch and have promised that Watch software will improve, both in the short term and, more importantly, over the long haul with the introduction of fully native Apple Watch apps.

Because the Watch is aimed at the millions of people already using Apple products, especially the iPhone, it should just slip right into existing workflows and equipment, like a puzzle piece nobody knew was missing. Support for Handoff and Continuity is especially important: You can begin a phone call on the Watch and push it to the Phone with a button tap; start reading an email on the Watch, finish it on your Mac or iPhone. The level of sophisticated integration with products you're already using -- and with iOS 8's security -- is a major plus.

 

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