Apple hints at Woolworths app for Apple Watch

Fancy getting your hands on an Apple Watch? It could mean a quicker shopping experience at Woolworths, with Apple using its launch event to hint at an app for the Australian supermarket chain.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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Claire Reilly
3 min read

Apple showed off a Woolworths app on its Apple Watch. Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

Amongst the major Apple Watch announcements made at the company's Spring Forward event in California this morning -- including news that the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will fetch upwards of AU$14,000 -- we heard more about the new apps that will roll out when the device launches on April 24.

But Australians who woke up early for the 4 a.m. announcement might not have expected to see an Australian retailer in the mix.

Kevin Lynch, the man who first introduced us to the Apple Watch in September last year , returned to the stage for Spring Forward to show off more features on the device, with demos of the Watch remotely opening garage doors, replacing key access to hotel rooms and replacing the humble credit card, thanks to Apple Pay.

Australians may soon be able to use this feature in Woolworths supermarkets, with a subtle hint coming from the Watch itself -- an image of the Woolworths logo displayed amongst the apps that will rollout when the Apple Watch hits stores.

There's been no official word from Woolworths about whether it has been working with Apple to develop an app for the device or when Australians can expect to see it, but the company has been in the app space for some time on both iOS and Android devices. Although the current app doesn't go as far as allowing contactless payments, it offers features such as a barcode scanner for creating shopping lists and a 'Find Me' button to locate items in-store.

If Woolworths goes the way of US-based supermarket Whole Foods Market, shoppers could soon be making payments with the flick of a wrist.

The Apple Watch can be used for contactless payments on card terminals. Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

During one of his demos, Lynch talked about the quick shopping experience US consumers could have at Whole Foods, simply scanning their watch over a payment terminal at the checkout.

"You can use Apple Watch to actually pay for things while you're checking out...I just put my watch near the merchant terminal and I've paid. That's it, I'm done," he said.

"It's a lot of fun to use, and you don't have to bring the watch face and touch the merchant terminal. As soon as you get close to it, you'll get the audible noise and you'll also get haptic feedback on your wrist, so you know the transaction was done."

Woolworths isn't the only Australian name to get onboard with the Apple Watch from the early stages. Australian outsourcing start-up Airtasker will offer an app for the device from launch, allowing users to farm out jobs such as cleaning the house, doing repairs or picking up deliveries, all using the Watch interface.

Australian company Invoice2Go has also been featured on the Apple Watch app website before launch. Designed as a time-tracking tool for business users, Invoice2Go uses geofencing to track the user's arrival on a job site so they can start recording the time spent on a particular job. Users will be able to track times from their Apple Watch, send invoices and receive notifications about payment.

CNET has contacted Woolworths for comment.