Apple Watch helps make navigating a new city easy and safe

Nothing says “I’m a tourist,” or worse, “Mug me, I’m not paying attention” like staring at a map on your phone. Apple Watch lets me avoid that scenario and still navigate someplace new.

I spent this past weekend in New York City, visiting family. My wife, my kids and I visit every summer, and we're getting to know our way around (Espresso 77 is a favorite stop in Queens). Still, it's a massive city and I've often depended on my iPhone for walking directions. As I explained above, that's good and bad.

It's very nice to have what amounts to a pocket-sized GPS receiver at hand. With a few taps, I've got a route to our destination. That's great, but I dislike holding my phone and staring at it while in unfamiliar and often very crowded neighborhoods. This is where the Apple Watch is a shining star.

Last Saturday, we had to walk from Times Square to the foot of Central Park. It's pretty much a straight shot, but I wanted the assurance of that assistance. After entering the departing and destination addresses, the first instruction immediately showed up on my Watch, and the iPhone went into my pocket where it stayed.

Prior to each change in direction, I got a gentle tap and a notification. As I approached the spot where I needed to take action (change directions, for example), the taps became more urgent. I could also glance down at any time to see what was up next.

It took only an instant to glance at my Watch and retrieve the information that I needed. The process was unobtrusive, effective and safe; I wasn't worried about bumping into someone or dropping my phone.

I haven't seen much written about this feature, but it's absolutely fantastic. The next time I'm demonstrating the Apple Watch to a curious observer, this is the feature I'll show off.