Apple Watch

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Apple Watch could help grey nomads on the road
The world at your fingertips ... and on your wrist

The interest sparked by Apple’s recent announcement that it is to launch a smart watch has been staggering … but what could it mean for the grey nomad?

The answer is … quite a lot! Even the most tech-phobic of travellers might appreciate the numerous potential on-the-road applications of the simply named ‘Apple Watch’. It’s basically a timepiece, a com­munications tool, and a health and fitness device … and all could be vital for the around Australia traveller.

The watch is quite small and has a rotating button on the side that functions as a control. By turning this ‘digital crown, the wearer can zoom in on photos or maps or scroll through selections without getting in the way of the screen. It takes a bit of getting used to, but apparently this works amazingly well.

For grey nomads who like to get out on decent bushwalks or who are just anxious not to ‘overdo it’, the watch offers some great health-related features. Multiple infrared and visible light LEDs on the back of the watch work to detect a pulse rate, and then interact with Apple’s health and work­out apps to give the wearer potentially vital information. For example, a new health app can track steps, heart rate and active calories.

The Apple Watch boasts a display screen made out of scratch-proof sapphire that can tell the difference between a quick tap and finger being held down, offering another way of controlling apps.

It can show grey nomads use­ful information such as their location, the weather forecast, and Apple Maps can give the confused traveller directions straight from their wrist. The watch will even vibrate to in­dicate when you need to turn left or right at a corner.

Siri is also accessible and the Apple Watch allows you to respond to texts via dictation.

It also takes another lurch towards our cashless future by integrating Apple’s new payment system, Apple Pay, basically allowing the watch to stand in for a credit card at certain locations. But it might be a while yet before that Out­back servo gets on board!

Below the watch’s ‘digital crown’ there is a big button which can be used to sum­mon the icons of the people you communicate with most frequently. You can then send them texts, drawings, or ‘tap signals’. So, when that Happy Hour gathering is dragging on a bit too long, you can activate a pre-arranged signal to say ‘it’s time to get out of here’. For example, you might tap on your watch’s screen five times. Your partner will feel the same tapping pattern on their wrist, and your hosts won’t have a clue what you’re plotting! This tapping message can be used to communicate with someone thousands of miles apart.

The Apple Watch will require that you own an iPhone and sign into the Apple ecosystem.

There will be three different Apple Watch models, and a range of six different straps to choose from. The Apple Watch will start at US$349 but won’t be available until ‘early 2015’.

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