Tap into the ancient wisdom of the Apple Watch Breathe app

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Chill out with the Apple Watch Breathe app.
Chill out with the Apple Watch Breathe app.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

In today’s fast-paced, connected world, the demands on our time seem endless. We spend much of our day in a state of constant hyperactivity. Apple Watch and iPhone add to the pressure, with their endless notifications telling us what we should be doing, who we should be speaking to and where we should be going.

Fortunately, Apple also offers an oasis of calm that can help us slow down this frenetic pace. The Apple Watch Breathe app draws on the ancient wisdom of Buddhist monks and yogis who practice a technique called “resonant breathing.”

Luckily, you don’t need to be a master of meditation to use the Breathe app that comes built into your Apple Watch. With clever visuals and smart features, it will guide you through this time-honored method for relaxing your body and clearing your mind. It’s a surprisingly subtle and relaxing experience that you might really enjoy.

In this quick guide, we’ll take a look at the origins of the Breathe app, how it works, what the benefits of resonant breathing are, and how to take advantage of this calming tech. So take a deep breath and let’s get started.

How to start swimming with Apple Watch

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Apple Watch Series 4 loves getting wet
Apple Watch Series 4 loves getting wet.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

While many of us learn to swim at school, plenty of people never return to the pool as an adult. If that sounds familiar, but your shiny new Apple Watch Series 4 is tempting you to dip your toe in the water again, this guide to swimming with Apple Watch is for you.

We’ll take a look at what equipment you’ll need, how to use your watch for swimming, how to structure your workouts for maximum fitness gains, and how to track your progress in Apple’s Activity app.

Let’s dive in and start swimming with Apple Watch.

Why creative pros can’t rely on iPad Pro [Opinion]

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Is the 2018 iPad Pro or a MacBook a better option for you?
Futurists claim the iPad has already eliminated the need for a Mac. Realists say nah.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Since the new iPad Pro’s launch, debate about the powerful devices has become increasingly polarized into two opposing camps: futurists and realists.

The futurists argue that the iPad is the future computing. Apple’s tablet has eliminated the need for laptops, they say, and anyone who claims they can’t manage their workflows on iOS is living in the past (and should just get with the program).

The realists, on the other hand, retort that while the iPad may be cool, it remains limited by iOS in a lot of very important ways. Those limitations mean it is currently impossible to use the iPad as a primary workstation for pros.

So, who is right?

How Apple Watch pace alerts will make you run faster

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watchOS 5 pace alerts are like having a running coach strapped to your wrist
Pace alerts in watchOS 5 are like having a running coach strapped to your wrist.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple made three big strides for runners in watchOS 5, adding Pace Alert, Rolling Mile pace and Cadence features.

In this post, I’ll focus on Pace Alerts, which let you set a specific pace for your run. This handy new feature is not just designed to keep you moving by warning you if you slow down. Pace alerts are ideal for lactic threshold workouts, which will help make you a faster runner. And you can use them to develop your pace awareness — an essential skill if you want to achieve a personal best this marathon season. Here’s how to get up to speed with pace alerts on Apple Watch.

How to sync your Apple workouts to Strava automatically

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Sync Apple Workout app with Strava to get the best of both worlds.
Using Apple's Workout app with Strava gives you the best of both worlds.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Your shiny new Apple Watch is great for logging workouts. But it comes up short when you want to review your training progress and share your workout history with friends. Everything gets bundled in the Activity and Health apps on your iPhone, which are pretty basic.

That’s where third-party apps like Strava come in. Strava offers all the essential fitness analytics that Apple overlooks. The trouble is, Strava’s watch app sucks for logging workouts.

If only you could have the best of both worlds: logging your workouts with Apple’s excellent built-in Workout app, then syncing the data automatically to Strava. Well, thanks to a brilliant indie app called HealthFit, you can.

GPS workout maps prove far more accurate on Apple Watch Series 4

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We took Apple Watch Series 4 to the running track for the ultimate test of GPS accuracy
We took Apple Watch Series 4 to the running track for the ultimate test of GPS accuracy
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch is pretty awesome at doing a lot of things. But mapping workouts isn’t one of them. At least, not until now. Back in 2016, I was pretty disappointed with the maps I got from my Apple Watch Series 2 (the first model that came with built-in GPS). When I tested it at my local running track, the maps it generated looked like random scribbles.

Fast-forward to today, and things look a whole lot better. Last week, I repeated that test with a shiny new Apple Watch Series 4 and got some very interesting results.

Series 4 makes me fall in love with Apple Watch all over again

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apple watch
Cupertino’s latest shiny wearable is really giving me the feels.
Photo: Apple

Can Apple Watch Series 4’s fall-detection feature tell when you have fallen in love? I hope so, because I’ve really fallen for it. Big-time. I haven’t felt this way about an Apple Watch since my first love, the original model, was announced back in 2014.

It’s not just the sleek new design. Nor the spacious new screen. It’s not even the breakthrough new health features. It’s when you combine them all together. It defies all logic and reason that Cupertino managed to cram so much awesomeness into such a tiny, beautiful package.

I can’t wait to strap an Apple Watch Series 4 onto my wrist next Friday and take it for a run. But until then, here are my first thoughts on this exciting new direction for Apple Watch.

How Apple Watch apps’ death spiral nearly killed my iPhone app

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Developing watch apps ain't easy
Developing watch apps ain't easy
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Two years ago, my partner and I launched an Apple Watch app to complement our iPhone fitness app. Little did we know that our embrace of Apple’s smartwatch would threaten the very existence of the gym app we’d been developing since 2012.

Each year since we launched Reps & Sets, we updated it to keep up-to-speed with all the cool new features Apple rolled out at its Worldwide Developers Conference. That all changed last year, though. That’s when we discovered that, by adding support for Apple Watch, we had inadvertently taken a poison pill that could effectively kill our iPhone app.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a few key changes, Apple could turns things around and reinvigorate the Apple Watch app ecosystem.

What’s in store for Apple Watch Series 4? [Wish List]

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What cool new features are hidden inside that slimmer Apple Watch Series 4 frame? [Mockup]
What cool new features will be hidden inside that slimmer Series 4 frame?
Photo illustration: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

In just a few weeks, Apple looks set to unveil the biggest upgrade yet to its popular wearable.
While the external appearance of Apple Watch has not changed much since its launch, recent leaks suggest we can expect a new form factor with a larger screen when Apple Watch Series 4 lands.

In the Photoshop mockup above, I’ve shown how Apple’s next watch might look if it slimmed down and added a larger screen (as the rumormongers predict). That would be pretty cool, but there are plenty of other potential upgrades I’m excited about.

Here’s my top 10 wish list for Apple Watch Series 4 new features.

Apple Watch Move ring vs. Exercise ring: What’s the difference?

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Don't get your Move and Exercise rings mixed up
Don't get your Move and Exercise rings mixed up
Image: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Closing your Apple Watch Activity Rings can become such an obsession that it’s easy to forget why you’re doing it. It’s not just to keep Tim Cook happy in his giant, ring-shaped office in Cupertino. So, what does it really mean to close a ring?

The Stand goal is obvious. We all know we shouldn’t sit around on our asses all day. But how about the Move and Exercise rings? Aren’t they kind of the same thing? Actually, no. They’re very different, and understanding that difference is massively important if you want to achieve your fitness goals.