Remember Tim Cook's presentation during the Apple event in September where the Apple Watch Series 3 was unveiled? Cook placed a call to an associate standing on a paddleboard in the middle of a quiet lake. Some joked just how plausible something like that was in real-world conditions. Now, a kiteboarder in California has proven that it works in shark-infested ocean waters.
John Zilles, a veteran kiteboarder for more than 20 years, had a wipeout off the coast of Ventura that had him about a mile offshore with little way to get back short of swimming. Weighed down by equipment, he started his watery trek.
Luckily, he had his new Apple Watch with him, the one with LTE cell capabilities. "I was really surprised that I had a strong signal, so I called my kids, and said 'don't worry, I crashed and I'm swimming to shore, and will be home late,' " he told the Daily Mail. "I then called my son back, and asked him to send me the number of the Coast Guard, just in case."
Of course, things can get complicated when you are that far from shore. After swimming for 30 minutes, his mind started to race a bit.
"I started thinking about all the great white shark sightings in our area, and although I realized I could probably swim in, I couldn't stop thinking about sharks. It was a real mind bender. It was maybe a two-hour swim, so I probably had another 90 minutes, but there was a strong current and I had a lot of gear as well, so I was only kicking."
It turned out the reason for the shark sightings was that the area was actually a nursery for great whites. He figured discretion was best. Using his watch, he called the Ventura Harbor Patrol, who immediately sent a boat. He spotted it about 15 minutes later, but heading away from him.
"So I called and asked it to turn 90 degrees and go 400 yards forward - and they found me straight away," he said.
Zilles is upbeat about the whole thing, given the happy outcome. No word on whether Apple will be approaching him to be a commercial spokesman for the watch.