Apple’s savvy fitness plan: Build an indispensable platform

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The Activity app forms the hub of Apple’s fitness platform strategy.
The Activity app forms the hub of Apple’s fitness platform strategy.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you compare the Apple Watch to dedicated fitness tracking devices, it comes up short, and the forthcoming watchOS 2 will do little to address these limitations. Instead, with this update Apple is focusing on helping improve third-party fitness apps.

That’s because Apple sees its wearable as the main component of a fitness platform, with the Activity app as hub. While the built-in Workout app is mostly for beginners, third-party apps will provide the missing features for hardcore users.

Could Apple Watch soon track weightlifting as well as cardio?

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Stainless steel Apple Watch meets pumping iron.
Stainless steel Apple Watch meets pumping iron.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

As a fitness tracker, Apple Watch is currently little more than a fancy pedometer. It only tracks distance and calories — the quantity, not the quality, of your movement. That’s a problem because fitness is about more than burning calories.

However, an interesting patent from Apple — plus a new technology claimed to be “Siri for understanding human movement” — suggests that Apple Watch could soon be adding weightlifting to its repertoire. Which would be good news for gym-goers and CrossFitters everywhere.

Why you may run into trouble if you try to switch running apps

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It's not always easy to switch running apps.
It's not always easy to switch running apps.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Using a running app to log your workouts is a great way to track your progress and stay motivated. But have you considered who actually owns the workout data you are logging?

If you ever decide to switch apps, you might be in for a surprise. While some services, like Strava, make it easy to transfer your data, with others it can be difficult or even impossible.

Why it’s impossible to keep up with the Apple Watch Activity app

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Time to take the stairs, not the elevator.
Time to take the stairs, not the elevator.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Activity app on your Apple Watch suggests new “Move goals” each week, based on how many calories you burned the previous week. To test how this works in practice, I accepted every new goal my Watch suggested during the past 10 weeks.

The Move goals became progressively more challenging as the test went on. They nearly doubled, from 950 to 1,840 calories, and I could no longer keep up. I realized that Apple is following the Peter Principle, and that’s why I was always destined to fail.