Running with the Apple Watch

For those of you who follow my blog, will know that I love running. It will be no surprise that I am also keen about overall health and fitness, too. So when Apple announced the HealthKit App and fitness capabilities of the Apple Watch, I was ecstatic! Thinking of the possibilities and igneous Apps developers can make with such a platform seem to be limitless. However, reading up a little more on Apple’s latest gadget, I am being forced to question the potential of this first generation product, and wonder how some of the health/running applications can be put to best use. Here are my initial thoughts.

The Apple Watch is no doubt a gorgeously crafted device. A high resolution touch screen, an intuitive crown for navigation and beautiful changeable straps are just some of the positive aesthetics. Apple have also done justice to the device internally too, with an accelerometer, bluetooth capabilities and a heart rate sensor, to name a few. However, an open desire in this device is the lack of GPS capability. As a regular (and somewhat serious) runner, I have become highly dependent upon my Nike+ GPS watch, which provides the convenience of viewing my run data mid-run at a quick glance of wrist. Viewing the speed, pace and time lapsed and hugely beneficial, particularly at running events where I strive for personal best performances. With the Apple Watch lacking GPS, it requires your iPhone for such usage, using the GPS and wifi from your phone to track distances during a run or bike ride. This necessitates the requirement to keep your phone with you during a workout. Not ideal, particularly as I prefer to run light, with minimal accessories. Having recently purchased the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s large size would be too cumbersome for me to carry during runs. Now I strongly believe that Apple will sincerely add integrated GPS in the future, but this leaves a little to be desired now.

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A further concern/reservation I have is that I use Nike+ to record and log all my run data, and have done so for the past 18 months. Seeing a history of my runs, maps and total mileage is inspiring and a great way to track performance (although there are a few flaws involved, but I won’t be going into that now). As a result, I am hesitant to move over to Apple’s HealthKit and start over. As Apple and Nike share common interests, it would be ideal for my Nike+ data to somehow be migrated over to Healthkit, or even better, to used both platforms interchangeably. Until then, I will be very reluctant to fully move over to the Apple Health bandwagon.

However, despite any flaws, there lies great potential within Apple’s shiny new gadget. With a built-in accelerometer, wearing the watch during other activities such as circuit training can definitely help show valuable data like calories expended, as well as heart/pulse rates. Furthermore, having a built-in vibration feature can help alert the user when key goals are conquered during a workout, as well as display maps during a run. The possibilities truly are endless!

Conclusively, I will be lining up on launch day to get my hands on an Apple Watch. Do I believe that this first generation has some flaws? Yes. But I am also optimistic that subsequent generations will carve out a truly inspirational and invaluable product. There will come a time when Apple Watches will be as ubiquitous as iPads. There, I said it… Roll on early 2015!!!!

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