We don’t yet know how popular the Apple Watch will be when it goes on sale early next year. A “flash survey” conducted immediately after the announcement showed 33 percent of 1,000 U.S. respondents were potentially interested in buying one.
The device carries a wide range of apps and features. Among them are Siri, Apple Pay, health and fitness, music, internet content — and maps. Apple Watch will be able to perform local search and deliver turn-by-turn navigation on your wrist.
The screen is multi-touch enabled so you can pan and zoom on the map with your finger. In addition, the Digital Crown on the device is used to zoom in and out. Favorites and recently searched places are also saved for quick access. And you can initiate local searches with Siri (fulfilled by Bing).
Perhaps the most interesting and unique feature of Apple Maps on the wrist is haptic feedback. The watch will buzz, essentially, when you’re supposed to turn right or left (a different sensation for each direction). So you won’t have to continually look at the watch screen to be reminded of which way to go.
Other than the haptic feedback, Android Wear devices also bring comparable Google Maps capabilities to the smartwatch.
Many people are interested in the watch for its health and fitness capabilities. In the survey data I referenced above, maps were not mentioned as a standout or favorite feature. However I suspect that maps and directions will be a primary use case for the device after it goes on sale.