Apple Watch 5.0 Software Allows Students to Use University Services with a Swipe of Their Wrist

June 2018 – At this week’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announced that version 5.0 of its Apple Watch software (WatchOS) will allow students at select universities to use their device to access university services, including the dining halls, gyms, and dorms. Participating schools include Duke University, University of Alabama, University of Oklahoma, and Johns Hopkins. The functionality will also be available on iPhones from the 5S and forward. 
While integration of student ID cards into the Apple Watch increases convenience, for some students with disabilities this feature can also increase independence. Researchers at the Wireless RERC recently conducted a series of focus groups on the use of “new communications technologies,” such as wearables, by people with disabilities. We learned that consumers with limited dexterity or impaired hand function, such as people with spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis, have indicated the potential usefulness of wearables in their own lives. For example, the ability to use near-field communication (NFC) for payments often simplifies what is a complex task for many users who find handling cash or cards to be difficult. Participants also related that use of wearables-enabled payment apps also make them feel safer and more secure. Hopefully, more schools adopt wearables and NFC payment systems as a method for making the campus environment and access to services more accessible and inclusive.
The WatchOS 5 update will be available for free this fall for the Apple Watch Series 1 and more recent models. [Sources: Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology ; Wireless RERC]. 
Date of Publication: 
Monday, June 11, 2018


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