Is the Apple Watch the next must-have travel gadget?

By Chris Chamberlin, September 12 2014

TALKING POINT | The new Apple Watch will arrive in stores and on wrists in March 2015, and among its high-tech tricks will be serving as an airline boarding pass and unlocking your room at Starwood hotels.

Apple's smartwatch joins the cavalcade of 'wristwear' from Sony, Samsung, Motorola and LG, but the US$349 gadget already boasts some features specifically targeted at travellers.

We’ve already seen sneak peeks of Watch apps from American Airlines, British Airways and Lufthansa which keep track of your frequent flyer account, your flights and even your boarding passes:

That’s similar to the Passbook feature already available on the current breed of iPhones and used by both Qantas and Virgin Australia for mobile boarding:

The Apple Watch Starwood Preferred Guest app will also double as your room key at most Starwood properties including Sheraton, Westin, and W Hotels:

(Note that Hilton Hotels also plans to introduce mobile phone room keys across most of its hotels worldwide by the end of 2016.)

But are these apps – or indeed, any of the Apple Watch's features – enough to sway you?

Does the promise of wrist-worn boarding passes and hotel room keys tempt you to buy an Apple Watch, or are you happy with a conventional watch on your wrist and a smartphone in your pocket?

For the latest information for business travellers and frequent flyers, follow @AusBT on Twitter.

ChrisCh
ChrisCh

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

cheeryking

cheeryking

22 Jul 2014

Total posts 8

managed to get rid of the habbit wearing a watche years ago, now you want me to wear it again? no thanks. 

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 918

No. It's Apple. I don't want iAnything.

tmsmile

tmsmile

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 105

Why does one feel the need to bash Apple? If it's not your cup of tea say its not for you, but to just rule it out because its made by Apple is really just plain close minded

airbear

airbear

Velocity

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 21

Gee Whiz!!!  Oh yeah... does it actually show the time?

Hugo

Hugo

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Are ausbt headline writers aware of Briffault's Law?

Hugo

Hugo

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Oops, I meant Betteridge's Law.

Doubleplatinum Banned

Doubleplatinum Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

It will take too long for all hotels / pay points to get involved and I would be surprised if any really did. Too much of a novelty that is not widely enough accepted to be of any use

gippsflyer

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

You can only go off the details currently confirmed, but *it could be quite useful* if you own a compatible iPhone and some of these special benefits don't end up only found in America. If it becomes widely able to be used as a boarding pass, door key, or credit card, that can be processed with little more than a flick of a wrist then it can free up a hand and speed up (hopefully) such activities. So much depends on third parties though, so it's too early to say right now, other than it has the potential to be useful. The phone specific functions are relevant for now, but aren't unique to Apple Watch, and there still is some question of whether battery life may prove an annoyance. And until it actually gets released/available, it's all navel gazing for now.


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