Apple has announced its Watch and with it two new fitness apps that can track and train its wearer, simply called Activity and Fitness.
Now that Apple has moved firmly into the wearable market and is offering complete fitness tracking, it could be a time for Garmin, Polar and any fitness band makers like Jawbone or Fitbit to worry.
The one sigh of relief from the competition must have come when Apple announced the iWatch would not work without an iPhone and it does not have GPS built-in. Of course it can do anything a sports watch can do once the phone is nearby using its GPS and Wi-Fi for location, speed and the like. The Samsung Gear S does have GPS and 3G built-in so it will be interesting to see how they compare.
But the Apple Watch does have a four-sensor heart rate monitor for accurate heart rate monitoring. It also has an accelerometer for step counting and more. Apple even says the Watch will have its own music player with onboard storage meaning you can go out for a run and listen to music and the accelerometer will measure pace - though we'll believe that when we see it.
The Activity app is for day to day continuous tracking measuring steps taken, stairs climbed thanks to a new barometer for altitude measuring, calories burned and even the numbers of times you've stood up in a day. This is all displayed clearly with each measure represented by a coloured ring that fills in as your goal gets closer. It can even be set to remind you to stand at intervals to keep you active.
The Fitness app is for specific training. Apple says it will be able to tell if you're running or cycling to measure calories, pace, distance and the like and can give session-based workout data. The Watch can use your data to create realistic goals – when they're achieved you're rewarded with milestones to keep you motivated.
The Apple Watch will cost $350 when it arrives early next year. This could be the saving grace for activity trackers that offer basic tracking for far cheaper. It could also be a relief for sports watches which offer similar priced devices with GPS built-in meaning no need to carry a phone when training.