Spielberg’s Apple Watch causes stir during film anniversary talk

Pressing the onscreen “X” will cancel any sort of false alarm on the Apple Watch.

Director Steven Spielberg was giving a talk at the Tribeca Festival when his Apple Watch suddenly said he’d taken a hard fall. His reaction to the false alarm ended up making matters worse.

Although false warnings from an Apple Watch are rare, they are not unknown — and can sometimes happen at inopportune moments. In this case, the renowned filmmaker was in the middle of giving a talk about his earliest feature film.

When the Apple Watch on his wrist beeped and displayed the warning, Spielberg should have simply pressed the on-screen “X” to cancel it. Instead, eager to resume his talk, he removed it, and dropped it on the ground.

“I’m not going to press the SOS [button],” Variety reported him as telling the audience. “I’ll pick it up later.” Shortly thereafter, the Apple Watch — having not received any response from its owner — began an audible countdown before calling emergency services.

When it does not receive a response from someone who has actually taken a hard fall, or been in a vehicle accident, it will make an audible final attempt to get a response from the wearer before calling emergency services and the owner’s primary contact in the Health app.

False alerts can happen when the Apple Watch detects it is moving rapidly, then stops suddenly. The device has had occasions where it falsely report crashes or falls during rollercoaster rides, and false hard falls or crashes while people skied, though Apple has since worked to reduce the number of incorrect alerts.

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