SPG: Starwood Hotels & Resorts

SPG App Offers Keyless Entry with iPhone and Apple Watch


I traveled to New York City for an event this week and I usually stay at either a Hilton or Marriott in Times Square. However, this time I choose the W Hotel Times Square since it was in the same price range and located right next to the Marriott I would have chosen anyway. The current version of the SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) App offers keyless entry on your iPhone and Android phone. It also offers it via Apple Watch. I wanted to give it a try. Before you get started on your travels you will need to join the SPG frequent stay program. It’s free of course and if you stay enough nights in Starwood property you’ll earn perks. Next you’ll need to download the SPG App and register your iPhone for Keyless entry. I actually did this months ago. My work travel is booked through an approved travel agency. As it turns out this interferes with the automatic nature of the keyless entry process. If you book via their app or website then you’ll automatically receive your digital key in the app 24 hours before you arrive. This way you can go right to your room when you arrive. Since I booked via a 3rd party I had to go to the reception desk upon arrival and check in in the usual manner. The staff issued me a regular plastic card key and I requested Keyless Entry. The computers were running slow so she instructed me to go on up to my room and the key would be pushed to my iPhone. I got the push notification about 20 minutes later. Of course I wanted to try it. Here’s a video:

As you can tell from the video above it takes a few taps to get to the key. The staff person actually told me that I would probably want to start brining up the key on my device in the elevator. That way the key would be on the screen by the time I hit the door. That’s pretty good advice whether you’re using your smartphone or Apple Watch.

Real World Use

SPG on Apple Watch

Sometimes the digital key just wouldn’t show up on Apple Watch

I left my room and went out for a few hours. When I returned for whatever reason the key didn’t show up on the watch. I’m not sure why, but I said no problem I’ll just use my plastic key. I pulled out the key and held it up to the door only for it to flash red. Yep, it had demagnetized. Argggh, then I remembered that it was on my iPhone. I pulled up the SPG app on my iPhone and it worked perfectly. Over the next couple of days using the SPG App on Apple Watch was hit and miss. Sometimes the key was there sometimes it wasn’t, but it worked on the iPhone 100% of the time. Hopefully these kinds of issues (bugs) can be fixed. It would also be nice to have the key as a “glance” on the watch to jump right to it. This would allow you to get to the key much much faster than the way it works today (when it works).

The SPG app also does a good job with Push Notifications as you near the property. You can also add a card to Passbook with your stay information. The push notification offered to bring up the key on my iPhone as I walked near the hotel from dinner.

The Bottom Line

We’re on the cutting edge with this technology. Most hotels have only just started rolling out this technology across their properties. Once the kinks are worked out it will be so nice to have this option on our mobile devices. It was also nice to have it work when the regular key didn’t.

You can get the SPG app here from the .

Tipity — Tip Calculator

Tipity Tip Calculator for iPhone and Apple Watch


You’ve seen one tip calculator you’ve seen them all. There really isn’t much to innovate in this category. Many will be quick to argue that with their superior math skills that they can just do the math in their heads and have no need for such apps. With all that said I’m always looking at the new entries in this market to see if there is one that I like better than the one that I’ve used for years. While I was checking out the newest apps for Apple Watch I noticed a tip calculator called Tipity and while my favorite calculator and conversion utility Calcbot offers one, there’s is lacking a couple of features such as excluding tax and rounding up/down. I decided to give Tipity a shot. The first thing I noticed on the iPhone was that the interface is very “text” based. Most of these apps have giant keypads to quickly allow you to enter the check total while Tipity concentrates more on showing you all the figures. Once you tap on a value then the numeric keyboard pops up and you can make changes. On this same keyboard you find the -1 and +1 to round up or down. In the settings you can choose to deduct tax (not tip on the tax) or not. If you enable it then you’ll be able to put in the tax rate on the main display. Lastly you can choose a star rating of 1 star (10% tip), 2 stars (15% tip) or 3 starts (20% tip) based the service you received. This way you can simply put the check total in and Tipity will do the math subtracting the tax and then calculating the tip plus giving you to the total with tax and tip included. I usually like to round up. This is something that I wish I could turn on in the settings instead of having to press the +1/-1 buttons each time.


The developer spent a lot of time making so you can customize the colors of your display to your liking.

A great app for Apple Watch


This is a perfect example of an app that fits perfectly on Apple Watch. There is no need to take out your phone. When the check arrives just fire up Tipity on your Apple Watch and enter the amount of the check.


Tipity will display the tip and total. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a rounding option on the Apple Watch version and this is even more of a reason why I’d want to turn it on in the settings.


Using Force Touch you can bring up the star rating display. Nice implementation and UI for Apple Watch.

The Bottom Line

Tipity is a good tip calculator for iPhone and iPad, but an even better app for Apple Watch. You can get Tipity here from the .

Amazon Prime Now

Get Same Day Deliveries with Amazon Prime NOW App

Amazon Prime Now iPhone 6 Plus


I order from Amazon quite a bit. Therefore I joined Amazon Prime years ago just to take advantage of the free 2-day shipping on most items. There are lots more benefits to prime members including Amazon Prime Movies, Amazon Prime Music and even an unlimited cloud photo storage service. Yesterday evening I noticed that there was a sticker on the box that I had received earlier that day and it was an advertisement for Amazon Prime Now. What caught me was the “same day” delivery messaging. I had heard rumors that Amazon was going to be doing same day deliveries but hadn’t realized that it had started. I quickly scanned the QR code to get right to the new app on the App Store. Now keep in mind that it was about 6:25 PM at this point. I decided to peruse the app and see what was available for same day delivery.

Amazon Prime Now Delivery Times

I saw a Pet category and I remembered that dog treats are always needed. I did a search for the “Science Diet” brand and found a few of the treats that I normally order. I added a couple to my cart. I saw that I needed to have an order of at least $15 for same day delivery so I added an Amazon Basics Lightning cable. I was stunned to see that I could still get delivery that night, even in about an hour if I was willing to pay extra! I of course didn’t need these items that fast as this was just a test. I opted for the 8-10 PM time slot. I checked out with a credit card already on file.


I received a text message that my order would be delivered soon and in about another 20 minutes my door bell rang. There was a woman at the door carrying a bag. I saw her Amazon badge and she asked me to verify my order. The bag was sealed and I opened it to find the three items I had ordered. Wow! That’s an amazing service.

The order cost broke down like this:

Screenshot 2015-04-29 20.48.17

While I certainly don’t need my Amazon orders that fast every time, it’s great to know that I have this option. Of course not everything that Amazon sells is available for same day delivery and that’s why they made a separate app that is dedicated to this service. If it’s in this app then you can get it same day.

I would like to see them implement Touch ID for password entry/ordering.

Get the Amazon Prime Now app here from the .


FlightTrack 5

10 Apps That I’m Looking Forward to on Apple Watch That Are Already Here!


Apple Watch is a little bit more than a week away from shipping to those lucky few who got their pre-orders in within the first 5-10 minutes of being open last Friday. I’m really looking forward to receiving my Apple Watch Sport. I find that like the iPhone back in 2007 there is much confusion about Apple Watch. It isn’t my job to sell you on it. Frankly I’m not too concerned about people that say that they don’t want or need it. Like any product it will be a great fit for many and not for others. When I mention Apple Watch to my friends (the ones that don’t get it), I explain to them that it’s all about the “glances”. I pull my iPhone 6 plus out of my pocket more times than I can count in a day to look at things. Perhaps I got a push notification and I want to see what it is. Maybe it’s a notice that my flight or gate has changed. Or maybe it’s a notice that my Uber car has arrived. Perhaps it’s a text message. These are things that in most cases don’t really need much interaction from me, but they are little pieces of information that I want to know and soon will be able to glance at on my wrist while my iPhone stays in my pocket. Apple has already opened to the doors to App Developers to add Apple Watch support to their iPhone apps. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed more and more of my favorite apps being updated with Apple Watch features and some of which I weren’t even expecting, but I’m glad to see. Keep in mind that Apple Watch will already have a lot of great built-in Apps like Passbook (can’t wait to board my next flight using the boarding pass on my Apple Watch), Calendar, iMessage, etc., but it’s the 3rd party apps that will take it to the next level much the way they do on iPhone today.

Here is my list of the 10 Apps That I’m Looking Forward to on Apple Watch:



FLIGHTTRACK FOR APPLE WATCH: the perfect complement
• Notifications for flight status and gate changes
• Flight progress and information at a glance
• Travel details for current and upcoming flights for yourself, or friends and family



Now you can use Uber on your Apple Watch. Request a ride with a single tap and check your driver’s progress at any time — without ever pulling out your phone



Evernote for Apple Watch
– Dictate notes into Apple Watch and they’ll be transcribed and synced to Evernote
– See recently created, updated, and viewed notes
– Dictate searches and see results on your Apple Watch
– Create reminders and get notified about items due today




== 1Password 5.4 for iOS, the ‘Go Go Gadget Watch!` Edition ==

Sometimes, it’s the little things that are really exciting. There’s not a lot of big changes in this release, but some sweet refinements to existing features (like the Message Center and 1Password’s Brain) and one lovely little addition for our Pro users: an item detail that lets you ‘Add to Apple Watch.’

3 Hour Diet Reminder



Added snooze button to notifications
Swipe notifications to snooze or start a new timer.
Can set the snooze duration in settings.

Added Apple Watch App Extension
Start and stop your timer from your Apple Watch.
Increase / Decrease you daily water consumption progress.
View the remaining time for your current timer from an Apple Watch glance screen.
Receive notifications directly on your Apple Watch.
Snooze the timer directly from your Apple Watch notification.




Experience personalized music discovery with Pandora for Apple Watch.
· What’s that song playing? The song name and artist are available at a glance.
· Thumb-up tracks you love, pause playback and change stations directly from your wrist.
· Easily access new music notifications.

Deliveries: a package tracker


• Apple Watch: now includes an app, Glance, and notification support for Apple Watch.



Includes Twitter for Apple Watch. <-not much of description I know, but I’ll be happy to see important tweets/mentions at a glance.

Dark Sky


Dark Sky looks great on your wrist. Get notifications and check out the weather for the next five days with the Dark Sky app built from scratch for Apple Watch.

Trip Advisor


New for Apple Watch
• Suggests places to eat or attractions to visit based on your current location and time of day.
• Save a place directly on the Apple Watch, which is synced to your TripAdvisor profile and is made available on TripAdvisor.com and TripAdvisor apps for iPhone and iPad.
• Supports Apple Maps for directions to places.
• Supports Force Touch on list view so that you can change search range and sort options.

Bonus: SPG


Although I’m more of a Hilton and Marriott guy, the idea of using my Apple Watch to open my door instead of a plastic card key appeals to my geek side in ways you can’t imagine. I will stay at an SPG property just to experience this.

Now you can experience the SPG app on Apple Watch.

You’ll have easy access to all your favorite SPG app features, including SPG Keyless, accessing your stay details and tracking your account.

For more information about the SPG app on Apple Watch, visit spg.com/mobileapps


The Bottom Line

The above list is just the beginning. I can remember the handful of apps available on day one for iPad. Now there are thousands and some of which I couldn’t imagine life without. Although my Apple Watch is already ordered, I’m still stuck on deciding which band I’m going to like the most. Check out this video from my LIVE Periscope broadcast when I tried on a few of my favorites:


Live Broadcast from your iPhone with Periscope



Last week Twitter delivered their competitor to Meerkat and it’s called Periscope. Periscope is an iPhone application that allows you to do LIVE video broadcasts to your followers. You can show your front or rear camera at any time. Doing something cool and want your followers to see it? Just launch Periscope and start a broadcast. It will automatically tweet to your Twitter followers if you like and anyone following you will get an optional push notification that you’re doing a broadcast. If by chance some of your followers couldn’t watch it live you can choose to have the broadcast upload after you’re done for replay. It can also save to your camera roll as a video file to share anywhere else that you like. Best of all your audience can interact with you while you’re broadcasting. They can tap the screen to show you love (hearts) while you’re showing or saying something good and they can enter text messages that display on your screen while you’re broadcasting and if you choose you can address those comments/questions live. 


 I used it quite a bit this past weekend while at Professional Imaging in the Netherlands. I was joined by Scott Kelby, Frank Doorhof and Glyn Dewis. You should follow all of us by the way.

You can get Periscope here (it’s a lot of fun): iTunes.

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