Walking directions with the Apple Watch is a killer feature

IMG_1423It’s difficult to navigate an unfamiliar city on foot. You don’t want to look like a tourist (or a mark), so you pull out the internet-connected computer in your pocket, enter an address and start to follow along. It’s a logical move, but not ideal for several reasons:

  1. It’s very distracting. Staring at an iPhone while navigating a crowded sidewalk means you might bump into people, trash bins, hot dog carts…who knows what.
  2. Your more susceptible to pick-pockets and other n’er-do-wells. Nothing says “I’m a tourist!” quite like staring at a map while in Times Square, digital or not.
  3. Spoken directions from the phone can be hard to hear and annoying to others.

Conversely, the Apple Watch excels at delivering walking directions. It’s safer and more convenient than relying on an iPhone. Here’s how to get walking directions with Apple Watch.

Getting directions on Apple Watch

The first step, of course, is to get your destination’s address onto the Apple Watch. There are several ways to do this, and the fastest are these:

  1. Ask Siri for directions. The virtual personal assistant will automatically open Apple Maps with the directions ready to go.
  2. Start on Apple Maps on your iPhone. The app will automatically sync with Apple Watch. After you’ve entered the information on the iPhone app, open the watch app to view the directions.

Following a route

Once you’re ready to get moving, just tap Start. The Watch will guide you along, via clever use of Apple’s Taptic Engine:

  • A series of 12 taps means turn right at the next intersection.
  • Three pairs of two taps mean turn left.
  • A steady vibration means you’re at the last direction change.
  • A more urgent vibration (which I call “the freakout”) indicates your arrival at your destination.

Imagine walking from, say, the train station to a hotel in a city you aren’t familiar with. You’ve got a bag in your hand and a million things on your mind, like check-in, getting settled and whatever brought you there in the first place. Now you can walk with your eyes front and your head up. Perhaps you’ll even note a few landmarks along the way, to make the return stroll easier.

It’s a feature I love to use. Try it yourself.

Weekend Gear: There’s a frood who really knows where his pocket square is

rhettpocketMy grandfather carried a pocket square every day. This wasn’t the handkerchief that many people his age used to have (read: he did not blow his nose into it), but an honest-to-goodness pocket square. I remember watching him use it all the time:

  • Cleaning off wet eye glasses
  • Wiping dirt off of a garden spade
  • Clearing condensation off of a foggy windshield

The great Douglas Adams saw how useful such an item was (in his case, a towel):

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V…More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag [1. strag: non-hitch hiker] discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc…What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

A pocket square won’t protect you from the harsh elements of Jaglan Beta, but I’d argue that it’s nearly as useful. I have two, one of which is on me almost all of the time.

New York to Nashville

RHETTT

Danielle Romero makes fantastic pocket squares that aren’t the least bit stodgy or old-man-ish, and sells them through her business, New York to Nashville She writes:

“Most of our pieces began as a vintage item or reclaimed fabric that still had a story to tell. We wanted to hear that story, and we know you do too. This means that the pocket squares, cufflinks, and earrings are LIMITED RUN often just enough for 4 sets. I handcraft each one to reflect charm and beauty of all things Americana.”

I’ve got the “Rhett Butler” (pictured above). It’s about 10″x10″ and I love it. Great for cleaning off that iPhone screen. Cotton.

Izola

pandp

Izola strives to offer “functional everyday staples” with a vintage, nostalgic aesthetic. I bought this “Peace and Prosperity” handkerchief (above) and I love it.  It’s big at 14″x14″ and made of natural cotton. It’s getting softer and better-looking with each wash.

There you have it, traveler! A bit of handy weekend travel gear that’s a bit nostalgic (miss you, granddad), great-looking and supremely useful.