Saturday, March 21, 2015

Marine Apps on the Apple Watch "Pocket Mariner Takes the Lead"

Application: Boat Beacon and Boat Watch for Apple Watch
Function: Marine Internet AIS Tracking, CPA, Collision Avoidance
Rating: *****
Cost:?

The Apple Watch is set to go on sale starting April 24th. Are you going to be in line to buy one? I find it funny that they call it the Watch instead of the iWatch. I guess they have warn out the iThing. The anticipation and hype has been building for months since it was introduced in Apple's keynote.

I think it is safe to say that this device will be a game changer and will impact our lives much in the way the iPod, iPhone and iPad have. The watch acts like an extension of the iPhone in many ways allowing the user to do many of the functions available on the iPhone.

The watch comes with many built in apps much like the other Apple devices. Since this blog is about marine apps, I wanted to share with you some marine apps that are being modified to run on the Apple Watch. Pocket Mariner, the developer of Boat Beacon, Boat Watch and SeaNav are in the forefront and have modified their apps to run on the Apple Watch. I am sure their SeaNav ChartPlotting app is not far behind from being converted for use on the Apple Watch.

Built in Watch Apps:
Messaging - The app will give alert you when you have a message. Simply raise your wrist to read
Phone - Check to see who is calling without pulling out your phone. Use the built in speaker and mic to take your call or transfer it to you iPhone.
Mail - Quickly read your emails and mark them as read, unread or trashed.
Calendar - Access your calendar and see what event are coming up.
Activities - The three rings monitor your activity during the day.
Workout - Monitor calories, time, distance, pace and speed.
Maps - Get turn by turn directions right on your watch.
Passbook - Access boarding passes, loyalty and credit cards.
Siri - Activate apps with a "Hey Siri". Get directions, send an email, play music or make a phone call.
Music - Control Music on your iPhone even if you leave your phone at home. Listen with Bluetooth headphones
Camera Remote - Preview your camera's view and take a picture using the watch or timer
Remote - Control all features of your Apple Remote.
Weather - Check weather for any location in the world.
Stocks - Keep track of all stocks and market indices.
Photos - View all your photos on the Watch. Zoom and swipe.
Alarm - Manage and set multiple alarms.
Stop Watch - Stop watch feature in digital, analog or hybrid.
Timer - Easily time any event.
World Clock - View time zones for any location in the world set from the iPhone
Settings - Set Airplane mode, Bluetooth, mute or ping your iPhone to find it.

Boat Beacon

I reviewed the Boat Beacon app for the iPhone and iPad back in 2013 and it has some impressive GPS and Internet based AIS features.

Boat Beacon is an app for boat owners that allows them to monitor other boat positions along with other vessels in the area. Alerts for potential collisions can be received and your vessels position can be shared via Internet AIS. All of this requires that you have a cell or internet connection.

Boat Beacon for Apple Watch provides a handy wrist view of the user’s boat position and collision alerts. Having apps on the Apple Watch is so convenient. Now you can leave your phone down below in a safe dry place.  The water resistant Apple Watch now becomes your tool for accessing navigational information.

Boat Beacon on Apple Watch has five main screens.  Navigate to the other screens by swiping left or right.

A Map screen will launch when you start the app. It shows your own boat's highlighted position along with those of nearby boats. 

Scroll through a list of boats and tap them to find out more information about their name, speed, heading and MMSI.

Swipe to the left to view a picture of the boat also.

Information for boats that are on a collision course with yours is provided. The closest point of approach information along with speed and time will help with collision avoidance. This is key when transiting busy harbors and shipping channel.


The Navigation screen displays speed and course along with the latitude and longitude position information.  Scroll down to display a convenient “Man Over Board” button. This can be selected in emergencies.

This MOB sends an alarm to the iPhone or iPad that the Watch is paired with and an email alert along with MOB latitude and longitude. 

The MOB position is then automatically tracked on the Watch and the iPhone or iPad.

The Race Timer screen allows the user to control a timer to make sure you get across the start line on time. If you do any racing at all you know a good start is key to winning a race.

Options for count down and count up are displayed.

Speed and course are also displayed on the bottom of the timer to give you an instant view of your performance.

Pocket Mariner has thought of every feature needed and provided it to you on the latest technology.  This should give you a leg up on your competition.

The Compass Screen displays a digital electronic and analog compass to guide you on your travels. Speed over ground and course over ground are displayed too. The selector switch at the top allow switching between course or heading. 

The final screen operates as a useful mini flashlight including day and night modes. The screen illuminates totally white to provide a handy watch light for those time when you don't have a flashlight near by.
 


 
Boat Watch

Boat Watch is a must have app to provide vessel tracking information using AIS.  It is kind of a stripped down version of the Boat Beacon app. The user can save favorites and track the movement of vessels anywhere in the world.  The system works off of an Internet based tracking system with land based AIS receivers. 

The tracking feature is useful for people who want to keep tabs on the position of family and friends while they are on the water. The Boat Watch app has been optimized to work on the Apple Watch to display the vessels movements in real time.

The list of boats shows up on the main screen. Simply tap the boat listing to view speed, course and position information about the vessel.  Users can build a list of favorites to monitor.  These favorites can then be tracked and alerts can be received when these vessels arrive or depart a port.

It is great to see that Pocket Mariner is leading the way with development on the Apple Watch.  I have also been informed that development is underway to port their SeaNav app to the Watch also.

I am sure the other big names including Garmin, Navionics, iNavX and SEAiq are busy converting their apps to work on the Watch too. Stop back soon to hear more about marine apps on the Apple Watch.

Are you in the market for an Apple Watch? Is the Watch going to be useful or just a fad? What do you think?

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)
Mark
 

4 comments:

  1. Yeah except is the Google Watch waterproof and scratch proof to use at sea?

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  2. I use a Pebble Smartwatch to connect to iRegatta on the phone. The Pebble runs for a week on one charge, can be viewed in direct sunlight, won't change display when it brushes against you and only costs $99.
    Until Apple manages to have similar functionality it will remain a fad.
    In addition, using complex apps like iRegatta on your wrist is an issue as you really want the display to be close to your line of sight so you can keep an eye on other boats etc, rather than staring at your wrist which may be holding the tiller/sheet anyway. And it means no-one else on the boat can see the data.
    Much better to have the larger phone/tablet screen display close to your line of sight (e.g. mast or cabin bulkhead mounted) and use use the watch to control the display on the larger screen.

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  3. Could be useful if you had to get into a life raft in a hurry, no time to grab Epirb just saying

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  4. @Paul W: Apple is now #1 watch seller in the world, ahead of Rollex. It's the only Smart watch with any significant sales. It was not designed as a sailing watch, and it has limitations. But clearly, it is not a fad.

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