'Citymapper' and 'Transit App' Offer In-Depth Looks at Transit Experiences on Apple Watch

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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As a few popular iPhone apps begin rolling out updates for their built-in Apple Watch apps ahead of the April 24 launch, a pair of transit-focused services have posted on Medium to share detailed looks into exactly what kind of experience users can expect from Citymapper and Transit App on the Apple Watch next month.

Sifting through the data gathered from its iPhone app, Citymapper learned that its users frequently turned their phone on and off throughout one trip, unlocking to reorient themselves and quickly locking the device again to save battery. That's where its upcoming Apple Watch app comes in, Citymapper promising an experience tailor-made for the wrist-worn device.

This is the nature of transit information when you move across the city. You need snippets of information. Different things at different times, depending on where you are along the way.

Transit info works well on a device that focuses attention on one thing at a time. And where the transaction cost (ie hassle) of getting additional information is low (raise your wrist and swipe). Using a wearable app may also be safer. City dwellers are generally walking too fast, crossing streets, using stairs, jostling through crowds.
Citymapper has a few cool things planned for its Watch app, with Glances showcasing "how messed up your city is", pointing out stalled bus and train schedules around a user's location. The app will even notify a user, with the much-touted wrist-tap feature, when to get off of a current bus or train route to continue along their way.

Citymapper on the Apple Watch will be available in every city Citymapper has already established itself, including places like New York City and Rome, and support English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, with more cities and languages "coming soon."

Transit's Apple Watch app appears to be providing less of a notification-heavy experience and more of a straight-forward curated list of departure times and easy-to-follow directions, with a static "Take Me Home" button always on hand for when users get lost. The company aims to shave off as many precious seconds as possible with its wrist-worn experience.

It's not every day that developers get the chance to build something for a completely new platform. And we think that the Apple Watch might just be the ideal platform for us. Sure, it's not so difficult to pull your phone out of your pocket. But it's while we're in transit that those seconds matter most.

With Transit App for Apple Watch, all of that friction is gone. No matter where you are, you will have instant access to departure times for nearby routes -- on hand at all times. Sprinting for the bus? Need to know which route is leaving soonest? Don't want to interrupt your game of Candy Crush? We've got your back.
Both Citymapper [Direct Link] and Transit App [Direct Link] promise to be available on day one of the Apple Watch's April 24 launch.

Article Link: 'Citymapper' and 'Transit App' Offer In-Depth Looks at Transit Experiences on Apple Watch
 

rrahimi

macrumors member
Sep 17, 2012
46
6
This is the first (and so far only) category of app that might push me to buy an Apple Watch. Not having to pull out the phone to go around would be quite the convenience.
 

newagemac

macrumors 68020
Mar 31, 2010
2,091
23
As more and more developers start developing better experiences adapted to the unique experience of the watch, the naysayers are going to look sillier and sillier.

Apple's real secret to success is they create awesome platforms that make developers lives easier (with well thought out and advanced APIs) and rewarding (with financially sustainable systems).

Their haters and competitors still don't seem to have figured this out yet.

Also, most people aren't developers and they don't understand that the hardest work goes into developing platforms and systems. Those well thought out APIs are the reason developers are able to create such great apps with ease. But if you aren't a developer, you have no clue what's going on behind the scenes.

The difference between the Apple Watch APIs and the Android Wear APIs are so big it seems like Google just rushed something out the door to compete with the Apple rumors. You can tell Apple put a lot of thought into everything and spent a long time developing this.
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,253
12,212
Europe
The problem I have with these types of apps is that GPS location is not very accurate underground or when surrounded by very tall buildings. Often the Transit App things I am at one of the adjacent stops, or on a different line that happens to run nearby. It is also problematic in high-traffic areas such as central subway hubs where many lines and bus routes intersect. The list of "nearby" stops is often very long on my iphone in these areas, where I have to scroll to find the route and direction I actually want to go in.

I don't think the Apple Watch will address the first issue, and it will make the second issue much worse.

I actually think transit apps need bigger screens, not smaller, and most importantly more accurate and quicker positioning systems.
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,525
253
Sounds like a must have if you live in a city with public transit.

I'm in Detroit and it's got pretty limited transit compared to other cities that I've been in.

Gary
Don't worry. I'm going to create an app for the People Mover.

To save time, it's just doing to have a static screen to recommend that you take the bus or get a car instead--it will be the right answer 90% of the time and is never really a bad answer. :p
 

darkslide29

macrumors 68000
Oct 5, 2011
1,667
517
San Francisco, California
The problem I have with these types of apps is that GPS location is not very accurate underground or when surrounded by very tall buildings. Often the Transit App things I am at one of the adjacent stops, or on a different line that happens to run nearby. It is also problematic in high-traffic areas such as central subway hubs where many lines and bus routes intersect. The list of "nearby" stops is often very long on my iphone in these areas, where I have to scroll to find the route and direction I actually want to go in.

I don't think the Apple Watch will address the first issue, and it will make the second issue much worse.

I actually think transit apps need bigger screens, not smaller, and most importantly more accurate and quicker positioning systems.
We need Apple to give away iBeacons to subway stations, at least in a few major cities.

I don't really know if this would fix the GPS issue, but it would be an easy way for Apple to give publicity to its iBeacon and show off its potential uses outside of department stores/sports stadiums.

I'm assuming Google (or Samsung themselves) have an iBeacon alternative, but why not beat them to the punch in big cities for commuters? Might be that extra cool thing to sway someone to Apple.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Apple watch may work well with turn-by turn pedestrian directions.
Yes! The built-in app gives you walking directions without even having to look at the watch. You get silent haptic taps, two different kinds to indicate left and right.

The problem I have with these types of apps is that GPS location is not very accurate underground or when surrounded by very tall buildings.
That may improve in time as WiFi becomes more and more used in your city. (It need not be unlocked/public--any signal at all is useful for location.)

I know that in my city, I get super-precise location no matter where I am. Never noticed a problem. But if I venture out into the countryside, where WiFi noise dies down, then I can only get a precise fix outdoors.

(As far as I can tell, Apple STILL doesn't have a way to manually submit the coordinates for your home WiFi! It gets processed automatically or it doesn't. When Apple used SkyHook, manual entry was possible and very useful. I think Apple said it was coming, but it hasn't.)
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
Sounds like a must have if you live in a city with public transit.

I'm in Detroit and it's got pretty limited transit compared to other cities that I've been in.

Gary
If you live in a big city you likely know how to use the system even if you are an irregular user. It's a boon for visiting other cities and navigating their systems you aren't as familiar with. You do travel, right?
 

farmkittie

macrumors 6502
Jun 15, 2013
306
5
Don't worry. I'm going to create an app for the People Mover.

To save time, it's just doing to have a static screen to recommend that you take the bus or get a car instead--it will be the right answer 90% of the time and is never really a bad answer. :p
Has the people mover changed in the last two years? I used to work at BCBSM and they gave us a free pass to ride all year. I used to go around the whole circuit sometimes just to see the rest of Detroit. It was fun. There were few riders so I don't know how they would stay solvent but I'm sure the contract that provided all BCBSM employees we free rides all year was a big influx of cash.

What don't you like about the People Mover?
 

ttexxan

macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2012
219
0
to bad

Too bad this is only available for extreemly limited amount of cities in the US
 

itpromike

macrumors regular
Apr 20, 2010
133
9
As more and more developers start developing better experiences adapted to the unique experience of the watch, the naysayers are going to look sillier and sillier.

Apple's real secret to success is they create awesome platforms that make developers lives easier (with well thought out and advanced APIs) and rewarding (with financially sustainable systems).

Their haters and competitors still don't seem to have figured this out yet.

Also, most people aren't developers and they don't understand that the hardest work goes into developing platforms and systems. Those well thought out APIs are the reason developers are able to create such great apps with ease. But if you aren't a developer, you have no clue what's going on behind the scenes.

The difference between the Apple Watch APIs and the Android Wear APIs are so big it seems like Google just rushed something out the door to compete with the Apple rumors. You can tell Apple put a lot of thought into everything and spent a long time developing this.
Have you actually seen worked directly with the Android Wear API's or are you just saying that based on a few website watch app pictures?
 

oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,253
12,212
Europe
Yes! The built-in app gives you walking directions without even having to look at the watch. You get silent haptic taps, two different kinds to indicate left and right.



That may improve in time as WiFi becomes more and more used in your city. (It need not be unlocked/public--any signal at all is useful for location.)

I know that in my city, I get super-precise location no matter where I am. Never noticed a problem. But if I venture out into the countryside, where WiFi noise dies down, then I can only get a precise fix outdoors.

(As far as I can tell, Apple STILL doesn't have a way to manually submit the coordinates for your home WiFi! It gets processed automatically or it doesn't. When Apple used SkyHook, manual entry was possible and very useful. I think Apple said it was coming, but it hasn't.)
There is tons of Wifi where I am, almost too much. I think the issue is that much of it is corporate wifi which goes through various VPNs, so often the location information is inaccurate.

In general, the GPS is good enough for walking directions to a restaurant. But when there are 4 bus stops serving 8 lines and an intersection of several subways all within 2 blocks, the app cannot with any degree of certainty predict which of those you are interested in seeing time information for. On an iPhone, it can show me the time information for all of them in a list that is about 2-3 screen lengths. On a watch, I think it would be a mess.

That may seem like an uncommon scenario, but it pretty much describes 50% of Manhattan, and the downtowns/financial districts of many other major cities
 

bacaramac

macrumors 65816
Dec 29, 2007
1,414
78
The L train example is simply perfect. Great use case for the Apple Watch and it looks like Dev's will be putting some great thought into it.
 

zippyzoom

macrumors member
Sep 19, 2009
99
10
We need Apple to give away iBeacons to subway stations, at least in a few major cities.

I don't really know if this would fix the GPS issue, but it would be an easy way for Apple to give publicity to its iBeacon and show off its potential uses outside of department stores/sports stadiums.

I'm assuming Google (or Samsung themselves) have an iBeacon alternative, but why not beat them to the punch in big cities for commuters? Might be that extra cool thing to sway someone to Apple.
+1000

This would be absolutely monumental in NYC!
 

six2pel

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2012
20
0
Nice use case if you need it I guess.
Nothing about the iWatch or a Smartphone in general satisfies a need. I'll most like buy one for the following 3 reasons

1) I'm a techie
2) It looks like fun
3) I want one.

I have absolutely no need for one but I'd imagine many people are in this same situation
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,525
253
Has the people mover changed in the last two years? I used to work at BCBSM and they gave us a free pass to ride all year. I used to go around the whole circuit sometimes just to see the rest of Detroit. It was fun. There were few riders so I don't know how they would stay solvent but I'm sure the contract that provided all BCBSM employees we free rides all year was a big influx of cash.

What don't you like about the People Mover?
It's just a joke. (And a dumb one, sorry!)

But the biggest problem with the people mover it's almost useless. It doesn't go to and from places people want to go to and from. As you found, the best reason to ride it is idle amusement, and then only if it's free. It's like the guy who keeps up a boat but has trouble scraping together the rent and doesn't even live near a lake.
 

newagemac

macrumors 68020
Mar 31, 2010
2,091
23
Have you actually seen worked directly with the Android Wear API's or are you just saying that based on a few website watch app pictures?
I'm a developer. I've seen both the Apple and Google Wear APIs. And yes the Apple Watch APIs seem far more advanced than what Google has put out there. And Apple hasn't even allowed us to create apps directly on the Watch yet.
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,525
253
There is tons of Wifi where I am, almost too much. I think the issue is that much of it is corporate wifi which goes through various VPNs, so often the location information is inaccurate.

In general, the GPS is good enough for walking directions to a restaurant. But when there are 4 bus stops serving 8 lines and an intersection of several subways all within 2 blocks, the app cannot with any degree of certainty predict which of those you are interested in seeing time information for. On an iPhone, it can show me the time information for all of them in a list that is about 2-3 screen lengths. On a watch, I think it would be a mess.

That may seem like an uncommon scenario, but it pretty much describes 50% of Manhattan, and the downtowns/financial districts of many other major cities
I believe the location info derived from Wifi does not depend on whether VPN is in use. As I understand it, it compares the mapped known locations of base stations to the strength of radio signals from those base stations. The base stations emit these signals to advertise their existence so that computers can connect to them in the first place. (You choose to hide the SSID of a base station from public view, though even that might not affect location services... the hiding is not a true stealth mode. probably location services should respect a private SSiD even if it doesn't have to, though.)
 

The Barron

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2009
506
389
iBeacon Deployment needs to be fast tracked

We need Apple to give away iBeacons to subway stations, at least in a few major cities.

I don't really know if this would fix the GPS issue, but it would be an easy way for Apple to give publicity to its iBeacon and show off its potential uses outside of department stores/sports stadiums.

I'm assuming Google (or Samsung themselves) have an iBeacon alternative, but why not beat them to the punch in big cities for commuters? Might be that extra cool thing to sway someone to Apple.
+1000

This would be absolutely monumental in NYC!
Absolutely spot on as far as getting the iBeacon out there for the cities to see & use en masse rather than traipsing into a store & getting targeted to buy a specific product.

A mass roll out of these devices, especially in the five major mass transit cities here in the US & in Europe would be a great start. Who knows, The Watches may really start flying off the shelves then. :)

How about it Apple?
 
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