The Loop

Here's why golfers should care about the new Apple Watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook formally introduced the world to Apple's newest creation on Monday: The Apple Watch.

There'll be three versions of the product hitting stores April 24: the Sport edition (which starts at $349), the regular edition (starting at $549), and the gold edition (starting at -- wait for it -- $17,000).

What does the Apple Watch actually do?

Basically everything an iPhone can do, but in the form of a wrist watch. It's become a point of contention among pundits who tend to divide into two different camps: the "what's the point?" crowd, and the "you're missing the point!" crowd.

Skeptics say the Watch is too app-dependent, and that aside from the 18 hours of battery life, it doesn't expand on anything an iPhone can't do already. But that doesn't mean it's a dead end, say the "you're missing the point-ers".

Creating smaller computers is a big deal, writes Vox, because it helps people integrate the same technology more easily into their everyday lives. It wasn't too long ago that critics thought nobody would watch videos or read articles on their phones because the screen was too small, and look how terrible that prediction turned out to be.

__If you're one of those people who loves golf in spite of not being able to check your phone on the course, you might love the Apple Watch. It provides a more discreet way of doing all the things you do most on your iPhone, so whipping-off a few emails in between holes doesn't require any frantic rustling through your golf bag. It's also integrates with apps in ways that probably makes them more helpful. If, for example, you have an app that measures how much you walk, you'd probably rather wear a wristwatch than carry a phone around in your hand or pocket all day. says that in order for the Apple Watch to succeed, its apps need to solve a problem and work better on a watch than it could on an iPhone. It's easy to see how that could apply more expansively to golf: What about an app that could diagnose your swing flaws just by swinging? Could the Apple Watch one day track your stats in real-time, a la GAME Golf or Arccos, without needing the hardware? Could it track your swing speed based on your arm speed? Could an app tell you where to aim, based on where you're standing on the golf course?

It may seem outlandish, but those products all exist in one form already, and if it catches on, there's no reason to believe they couldn't one day live on the Apple Watch.

"Some of the applications...are extraordinary," writes Christopher Mims of the Wall Street Journal. "Apple Watch will be a launching pad for the next wave of billion-dollar consumer-tech startups."__