Workout & GymKit: Apple Really Wants You Moving

The updated Workout app now includes auto-settings (meaning the watch will automatically know when you are working out as opposed to you telling it) for pool swim workouts and new motion and heart rate algorithms for HIIT workouts – that’s High Intensity Interval Training, though if you didn’t already know that, this likely won’t become a top feature for you. With watchOS 4, athletes doing back-to-back workouts or training for a triathlon can combine multiple workout sessions to capture overall calorie and time measurements.

With GymKit, your Apple Watch will be able to pair with your “favorite [connected] cardio equipment” – that means treadmills, elliptical machines, indoor bikes or stair steppers from global manufactures like Life Fitness and Technogym that are designed to work with Apple Watch. Apple says this is an industry first and we can’t really argue with that – data previously withheld by the cardio equipment will finally be synced to your Apple Watch running watchOS 4. This includes calories, distance, speed, floors climbed, incline and pace – the nerdy stuff you need to know if you want to bring your healthy lifestyle to the next level. While I certainly am no expert athlete, I still think that Apple will have to get the integration of this received data right with its apps so that this mass of raw data is actually used to help you get better at what you’re doing.

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New Apple Watch Faces & Bands

Just in time for summer, Apple debuted a range of new straps – or “bands,” (as they like to call them) featuring new colors. This includes three new Sports Bands in “mist blue,” “pollen,” and “flamingo” colors for $49 each. There is also a bright yellow leather Classic Buckle for $149, and perforated Nike Sport Band options that color-match the Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit Day to Night Collection (that is a shoe) at $49 each.

Also new in the straps department is the rainbow-hued Pride Edition Woven Nylon band priced at $49, and it is only available from Apple being launched as a “celebration of diversity and inclusion.” Rainbow colors on the wrist, in a comfortable and “officially Apple” package. This is an excellent time to consider when would any of the bigger (or smaller) Swiss brands ever debut something like this or to even make a political statement. Oh, and if you just like the colors of the Pride Edition band and aren’t a member of a particular community that the rainbow flag is often known to represent, it is still okay by us to proudly don one.

Last, but not least (okay, maybe least), is a range of three Toy Story watch faces that bring to life Disney Pixar characters including Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear. Apple doesn’t mention this but it’s “Fun Fact Of The Day”: Apple founder Steve Jobs had only recently been fired from Apple (just Google the story, it’s a fascinating one) when he took the opportunity to be an investor in the also recently independent Pixar, after having paid $5 million to George Lucas for technology rights and put another $5 million in cash into the company. Pixar was sold to Disney in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion. [Editor’s Note: Ariel Adams here. I just wanted to suggest to anyone interested in this story about Jobs and Pixar to read Creativity Inc – which I found to be a very satisfying read].

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While Woody and his companions have most likely been added in an effort to bring the Apple Watch closer to the kids and teenagers, there is something larger going on here. Apple continues to guard its Apple Watch face area carefully, not allowing third parties to make full-on faces for the Apple Watch right now. Moreover, Apple has been arguably slow to release new dials. Years ago now, we mentioned that with their relationship with Disney, Apple has a huge opportunity to monetize watch faces by selling them. A good way to do that is to offer ones with favorite characters from Disney’s various universes. I continue to hope that Apple makes it possible for Apple Watch owners to download high-quality watch faces to the Apple Watch in order to make the experience even more personalized.

Oh, and just one more thing: watchOS 4 will also enable Apple Watch users to make and receive person-to-person payments quickly, easily, and securely with friends and family with Apple Pay within Messages or by using Siri. The funds are transferred to the recipient’s Apple Pay Cash account and are available for making purchases using Apple Pay in stores, apps, or can be transferred to their bank accounts. aBlogtoWatch will bring you more news about the Apple Watch watchOS 4 after we are able to test it. Once again, Apple’s watchOS 4 will be launched in fall of 2017.

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