watchOS 8 adds new Mindfulness app and Portrait watch face

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watchOS introduces a new Portrait mode watch face with depth effect
watchOS introduces a new Portrait mode watch face with depth effect
Photo: Apple

We got our first glimpse of the OS that will be gracing everyone’s wrists this fall when Apple showed off watchOS 8 during Monday’s WWDC keynote.

This update looks like more of an evolution than a revolution. Text editing gets a little easier.  And we’ll get various small enhancements for the apps we already know and love, like photo sharing and a redesigned Music app.

Does being gay make Tim Cook a better CEO?

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Apple CEO Tim Cook calls being gay
Tim Cook calls being gay "God's greatest gift."
Photo: thierry ehrmann/Flickr CC

Since he came out as gay eight years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook has led the company through the most successful period in its history. Cook once said he wanted to prove you can “be gay and still go on and do some big jobs in life.” He’s certainly done that.

But maybe there’s more to this story than overcoming prejudice. In 2018, Cook told CNN that being gay is “God’s greatest gift to me.” Far from a disadvantage, could being gay actually be an instrumental part of his success?

As a gay man myself, Cook has always been an inspiration for me. So to celebrate Pride Month, here’s why I think being gay made him a better CEO.

Mixed-reality Apple glasses could add a new dimension to fitness

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How augmented reality could augment your workout
Will augmented reality augment your workouts?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Like Apple Watch before it, Cupertino’s much-anticipated mixed-reality headset looks set to be another leap forward for fitness wearables.

Mixed reality is already commonplace in TV sports. You see it every time the virtual line of scrimmage is superimposed onto a football field. Now imagine that the players on the field can see that virtual line too, just like the viewers at home. That’s exactly what Apple’s latest gadget could deliver, adding a whole new dimension to sports and fitness.

How to mix up activities for a more effective Apple Watch workout

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Why choose one activity type when you can do loads?
Why choose one activity type when you can do loads?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Which workout type do you fancy today? Running, swimming, cycling, yoga…? There are so many different Apple Watch workouts, it can be hard to choose. The good news is, you don’t have to.

Thanks to a hidden feature in the Workout app, you can log multiple activity types in a single session. Want to log a triathlon? No problem. Like to do a cooldown at the end of an intense HIIT session? It supports that too.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to use this little-known Apple Watch feature — and why you definitely should.

How to use Mobility Metrics in iOS 14

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New mobility metrics in the iOS Health app provide essential data on how you’re walking.
New mobility metrics in the iOS Health app provide essential data on how you’re walking.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The new Mobility Metrics feature that Apple added in iOS 14 offers important insights into your health and fitness. Using its built-in sensors and some extremely smart software, the iPhone in your hip pocket captures data and analyzes how you walk at all times. Then, the Health app serves up seven key measurements that provide an overall picture of your strength, coordination and cardiovascular health.

Even if you don’t experience any mobility difficulties, you might still be interested to see what these new stats reveal about the way you walk.

How to make your New Year’s resolutions stick with Apple Fitness+

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Time’s up for excuses - get in shape in 2021
Time’s up for excuses - get in shape in 2021
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Fitness+ makes it easier than ever to get in shape. So you should have no problem smashing your New Year’s resolution. Right?

Wrong. The sad fact is, despite the best of intentions, most New Year’s resolutions fail. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I know from personal experience as someone who went from a middle-aged slob to the proud owner of six-pack abs for the first time in my life. Now I’m a qualified personal trainer and I write about fitness for Cult of Mac.

So what’s the secret? Why do some resolutions succeed where others fail? Here are my top five tips for how you can use Apple Fitness+ to get in shape in 2021 and stay that way.

Apple Fitness+ review: First impressions from a fitness fanatic

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Apple Fitness+ review: With 10 types of workouts, there's something for nearly everyone.
I let Apple Fitness+ test me to the limit, so I could test it to the limit.
Photo: Apple

Apple Fitness+ only came online yesterday, but I’ve already logged 10 workouts with it. I let Cupertino’s new subscription service put me through my paces, so I could put it through its paces to bring you this review.

I’m a qualified personal trainer and a fitness fanatic who trains hard every day. So I was curious to find out if Apple Fitness+ could give me a challenging workout.

Cardio Fitness: What Apple’s new health metric means and how you can use it

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Low Cardio Fitness Notifications are about your lungs as well as your heart
Low Cardio Fitness notifications are about your lungs as well as your heart.
Photo illustration: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple’s VOmax metric measures the performance of your heart and lungs when you push yourself to the limit. Up until now, though, it’s only been useful to serious fitness fanatics. No wonder Apple buried it in the Health app, where most users never found it.

But watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3, which Apple released Monday, change all that. In those updates, the VOmax metric has been renamed Cardio Fitness. Now it can detect lower ranges and send alerts when the reading gets too low. That makes it the latest in a series of potentially life-saving health notifications from Apple Watch.

Here’s everything you need to know to get the benefit of this essential new feature.

How to optimize your swimming stroke with Apple Watch

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Do you know how Apple Watch counts your swim strokes?
Do you know how Apple Watch counts your swim strokes?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch is a great swimming companion, offering highly accurate length counts, pace measurements and stroke recognition. But the benefits to swimmers don’t stop there.

You’ll find plenty more useful swim stats in the Fitness app on your iPhone. Strokes Per 25/50/100 is especially valuable because it tracks your swim efficiency, which is key if you want to go faster, further or just look more cool in the pool.

But the way Apple Watch counts your strokes is not as simple as it seems. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert swimmer, it’s worth taking time out to understand exactly how it works.

Meet the super-fit team behind Apple Fitness+

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Can you keep up with Apple's new team of trainers?
Can you keep up with Apple's new team of trainers?
Photo: Apple

Over the past 12 months, Apple quietly assembled an elite team of fitness trainers from around the world. Bound to secrecy, they’ve been moving across the country to start new lives in Los Angeles, without even being able to tell their friends exactly what they’re up to.

These are the stars of Cupertino’s latest subscription service, Apple Fitness+. It’s the first Apple-branded product to focus so intensely on a handful of individuals. So, as you’d expect, they’re a pretty extraordinary bunch. Let’s meet them!