Apple adds biking features to Watch and steps up Fitness+ classes

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Apple continues to expand its fitness and Watch offerings. With a focus on cyclists, Apple Watch will now be able to help bikers track their workouts and detect biking-related falls on the Apple Watch, the tech giant revealed at a special event. 

“Today we are adding new features to Apple Watch for everyone that rides a bike. WatchOS 8 will detect when you begin riding and remind you to start a workout. It will automatically pause and resume if you stop temporarily,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said during the event. 

“WatchOS 8 adds fall detection to cycling by sensing the unique motion and impact of falls while riding a bike.” 

Williams added that the watch can now better support ebikes due to its improved workout “algorithm that more accurately calculates calories.”

The company revealed the Series 7 Apple Watch, which it boasts has a larger display screen thanks to reduced borders. The company also highlighted the watch’s durability, noting that this version is crack, dust and water resistant. 

“Across the user interface on Series 7, buttons have been redesigned and enlarged to complement the new design of the display, like in stopwatch, activity and alarms, making them even easier to tap. It can also fit 50% more text on screen than 6,” Lauren Braun, Apple Watch product manager, said during the event. 

The ​​Cupertino, Calif.-based company is also rolling out a slew of new programs on Apple Fitness+, a subscription platform of fitness videos designed to be used with Apple Watch and its activity-tracking function. Users will now be able to tap into pilates workouts, guided meditation videos and a workout program geared towards getting users ready to hit the slopes. The service is also rolling out in 15 more countries. 

Apple is also launching Fitness+ Group Workouts, which let customers remotely workout with their friends or family. 

“From a group message thread or facetime call, navigate to the fitness app and get started. Your metrics are still on your screen, and you’ll see when your friends move out on the burn bar or close their activity rings,” Jay Blahnik, the Director of Fitness Technologies and Fitness+ at Apple, said during the event. 

Customers can tap into Group Workouts on their iPhone, iPad or AppleTV through airplay. 

WHY IT MATTERS 

The new updates demonstrate Apple’s continued interest in the healthcare and wellness space. The products revealed today are focused on the fitness and overall wellness sector, however the company has previously rolled out more technical health monitoring features.

For example, in 2018, Apple announced that it landed an FDA clearance for an ECG reader built into its Apple Watch Series 4. At that time, the company also unveiled its fall detection feature. Then in 2020, the company added Sp02 and V02 Max measuring. 

Earlier this month, a Wall Street Journal article reported that the company was looking to blood pressure tracking and a fertility planning thermometer system. However, those updates were not on the docket today. 

THE LARGER TREND 

 At Apple’s developer conference in June, the company’s health-focused news revolved around its iPhone. The company added a real-time assessment of walking stability and fall risk, additional context for lab test results, new tools for tracking health trends for patients and caregivers and new integrations with EHR vendors. 

This year Apple has also rolled out a number of new features for individuals with mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities. 

Fitness has been a focus for Apple for some time. The company rolled out the Fitness+ platform in 2020. Then in April, it added new workout sections for pregnant people, older adults and beginners. 

 

 

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