Using Apple Watch for Map Searches

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I had family in town this past week and something that seems to always come up eventually during family discussions (especially out of town family) is...

"Doesn't 'town X' have a 'store Y'?"

We have a rule at our family dinner table...no cells phones allowed. So when a discussion like the one above came up at dinner this past week I simply lifted my wrist and asked Siri if the city we were talking about had that store. Sure enough, my Apple Watch came back with the correct answer including information like:

  • Hours of Operation
  • A button showing the travel time with the option to get directions
  • A second button with the option for "transit directions" if I wanted to use public transportation
  • Phone Number
  • A Visual Map

I have to admit that I was pretty blown away. I really wasn't expecting my Apple Watch to accurately be able to find that kind of information from a literally "off the cuff" question. Not only that, but the Apple Watch managed to display all of that information in a surprisingly useful format on that very tiny screen.

Now for the interesting part. The Apple Watch can find places via Apple Maps faster then when you use Apple Maps on an iPhone, iPad or even a Mac. Don't believe me? Try it.

Even better, I'll give you an example. I just asked Siri via my Apple Watch if there was a Microsoft Store in Cupertino. I was half expecting a "snarky" answer back, but instead I got a list of two nearby stores.

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Followed by all of the really useful information I described above:

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So next I tried finding a Microsoft Store near Cupertino in Apple Maps on my iPad. First I did a search for the city of Cupertino to get Apple Maps centered on the right city (because if I just did a search for Microsoft Store" it would find one near my current location instead of Cupertino.

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Then I did a search for a Microsoft Store

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As you can see from the results above the Apple Maps search on the iPad found the closest store and it was the same store as the one that my Apple Watch found. But if you look closely, the 2nd closest store it found wasn't a store at all but a corporate office building of some kind. Turns out when I looked at the 2nd closest store that my Apple Watch found, it wasnt much better. That store was actually a Microsoft Consulting and Service Center and not a Microsoft Store. So it appears the Apple Watch and the iPad are both equally inaccurate when it comes to the 2nd closest store.

Next I did the exact same search on the iPad as I verbally asked my Apple Watch, which was "Is there a Microsoft Store in Cupertino?"

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As you can see above it found the same closest store but a slightly different list of stores. This time they all appear to be ACTUAL Microsoft Stores. Score one for the iPad.

What this tells me is that the Apple Watch is a just as accurate and much less annoying way to find things than it is to use my iPhone or my iPad. I never would have thought that to be the case until I stumbled onto it when I had no other choice but to use my Apple Watch. From now on I will be using my Apple Watch more and more for general map queries. I wonder how many other things the Apple Watch can do as good if not better than the iPhone. I might have to try to do more things with just my Apple Watch...

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