What would it take for Apple Watch to lap competing fitness trackers?
I’ve started cheating on my Apple Watch. It’s not that I don’t love it. It’s amazingly beautiful. It does stuff I didn’t even know I’d like. But when it comes to running wild in the outdoors, I’ve found a smartwatch that satisfies me more than Jony Ive’s wearable does.
For the past week I’ve been testing the Garmin Fenix 3, a top-of-the-line smartwatch from a company that’s made a name for itself by providing runners and outdoorsmen with some of the best wrist-worn fitness tech. I hate wearing the Fenix 3. While Apple Watch gently caresses my wrist, the Fenix 3 feels like I’ve strapped a tank to it. Yet it boasts features Apple Watch doesn’t have that I’m starting to think I can’t live without on runs and hikes.
I don’t plan to completely break up with the Apple Watch anytime soon, but I’m ditching it during my four-day trek through the Grand Canyon this weekend because there are still a couple things it needs to learn before it can truly be the best all-around fitness tracker.
Many people say they want to get fit, but what does this actually mean? Fit for what?
The websites of leading fitness trackers, like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Microsoft Band and Jawbone Up don’t shed much light on this question. They talk a lot about the things that their devices measure, and even suggest changes in how we go about our day, but they rarely explain why this matters or what the actual benefits are.
Your “other” workout had better be cardio. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple’s approach to fitness is all about cardio and burning calories.
That’s great if you’re into running or cycling. But for other kinds of exercise, like bodybuilding or yoga, it’s not relevant at all. And if you want to lose weight, cutting the calories you eat is usually more important than burning calories through exercise.
So why does Apple Watch focus exclusively on cardio, and what does this means for people using one to get in shape?
Where to next for Nike+ runners? Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac
Apple’s new Activity and Fitness apps for Apple Watch might signal the end of the company’s long partnership with Nike.
So what does this mean for the millions of us who were introduced to Nike+ by Apple in 2006 and have been logging our runs this way ever since? Are we about to get caught in a Kramer vs. Kramer-style tug of love?
The new Gymwatch wearable makes it easier to muscle up. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Hitting the gym with my girlfriend is an embarrassing affair. Not because she lifts almost as much as me, but because she’s so much better at it, with the all the right form and stuff.
“Move your knees farther apart. No, no, no. Push on the balls of your feet.”
It gets tedious as she makes sure I use the proper technique every single time, but her gripes and coaching are about to get replaced by a new wearable called Gymwatch. It tracks all your movements in the gym to make sure you’re getting the most out of your lifting workouts.
These smart socks will fix your heel-striking woes. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — Tons of wearables at International CES promise to help you get better at everything from brushing your teeth to perfecting your golf swing, but the last place we expected someone to toss a sensor was into our socks.
Sensoria’s Fitness Socks are aimed at transforming you into a better, injury-free runner by embedding three sensor pads into the bottom of the sock that track your stride, cadence and speed while you’re running. Coupled with the Sensoria mobile app, runners can now get direct feedback on their running style to correct things like heel striking to help them dominate their next 10k.
Going for great guns? Skulpt Aim measures and tracks your muscle mass and body fat. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — If shedding some body fat is one of your New Year’s resolutions, you’re probably like me and looking for all the high-tech help you can get.
Activity trackers are great at logging exercise, but if you want to measure the actual progress your muscles are making, check out the Skulpt Aim — an iPod-size device that measures your body fat percentage.
The Skulpt Aim uses electroanalysis to not only determine how much excess fat you’re carrying around, but also your muscle quality. Just spritz a little water on the muscle you want to test, press the device firmly against your muscle, and within a few seconds, Aim spits out your score.
Jawbone’s new UP Coffee app can put your caffeine consumption into context. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple relies heavily on caffeine. A recent company job listing advertised a role for an iCup technician, with the important task of providing “a fresh brew coffee to all Apple employees within their department.”
Jony Ive’s design team is especially obsessed with the black stuff: For years they kept a $3,000-plus Italian Grimac espresso machine, despite the fact that it leaked all the time. For a while in the 1990s, the design team was even mockingly dubbed “Espresso” for their unabashed love of caffeine culture.
Apple’s not alone in its coffee snob behavior. The rise of coffee shops — with seemingly hundreds of variations on the old coffee standards — have infiltrated every city across the United States: Americans spend $18 billion per year on specialty coffee alone.