The Apple WATCH is due for late 2015 release alongside the new iOS8.
I’m really only interested in looking at the Apple WATCH from a vaguely serious sports/running/triathlon perspective. So what’s it got to offer me? and you? (you’ve just come to the5krunner website so this is my take from my angle…)
Firstly, Apple might be wonderful but they probably have little interest in the likes of me. They want the mass market, the trendy market. [Well maybe I’m a bit trendy but triathletes and runners are not a mass market by a long chalk].
Secondly, remember that Apple provide the OS and the hardware; the platform on which app developers can develop wonderful stuff. Furthermore the reality is that VERY many of the hardware components that Apple use are used by everyone else.
So this means that there’s not going to be too many surprises OF NEW FUNCTIONALITY, despite what the Apple marketing machine and Apple zealots will say. For example Apple did not invent either the mouse or the GUI despite what everyone thinks!
We should also temper this with the Samsung Gear experience. A most wonderful looking piece of kit that then goes on to fail to deliver on numerous levels with the software underneath, at least in its initial release version. [And I LIKE Samsung/Android products generally !]
I strongly suspect that Apple will not make the same software mistake.
Coming back to hardware; read this from Wikipedia: “The Apple M7 … is a motion co-processor used by Apple Inc. in the iPhone 5S… Its function is to collect sensor data from integrated accelerometers, gyroscopes and compasses and offload the collecting and processing of sensor data from the main (CPU). It was introduced in September 2013…”
So it is very likely that the Apple WATCH will also contain and rely on the M7 for my kind of data. iOS8 will be released in autumn 2014. It is surely very likely that the Apple WATCH will be based on that. iOS8 will contains much more functional improvements than some of the more recent cosmetic enhancements, for example to iOS7.
Now, you’ve no doubt seen the iPHONE5s advert (the chicken fat one). Here it is if you haven’t:
Clearly the motion sensors in the M7 do some wonderful things and can create some neat apps. The chickenfat ad shows that. So obviously it’s no great leap to see that when I do my weekly weights session then some sort of Apple app will help that. Building in a HR sensor via an external strap or (separate) wristband is facile for my HR data.
Presumably the M7 can relatively easy give me cadence data – certainly for running, maybe not so easily for cycling. Using the GPS on the phone will surely be easy-peasy for pace and speed. Integrating a 3rd party app for recovery based on HR should be fine. Not sure about accurate altitude data.
Not sure about taking the phone underwater but the Apple WATCH IF IT IS WATERPROOF to 50m will be fine in a pool and open water; it’s then only a case of science (rather than rocket science) to give us strokes and lengths and the like. Tricky science admittedly as everyone else seems to struggle with it! Then I always want HR underwater but Suunto’s new SMART Sensor stores HR whilst underwater and then bursts it to a bluetooth receiver device when it is able to.
So with all that what we have is basically all the watches from all the other vendors that are coming out at present. Even Suunto have a catalog of 3rd party apps that work on their device/platform.
So what is the Apple WATCH going to give us over and above that? Perhaps reliability and perhaps also a pretty and touch colour touch screen.
Perhaps it will give us data that is not really too accurate. That’s relatively likely but the target market (the masses) probably won’t realise or care too much if they are running at 4:30/km or 4:35/km pace.
Perhaps it will be too power hungry.
Perhaps it might need too many extra strap on bits to go with the watch and phone.
It won’t work with my ANT+ kit but it probably will make a good stab at working with Bluetooth kit (maybe not power meters at first).
Will it give truly innovative apps like RUNTEQ where scientific levels of body movements can be analysed to improve performance in a detailed way.
£350, sorted + the iPHONE and a sensor or two. Maybe.
Flame me now. I’ll revise my thoughts as your comments come in.
All the hardware bits already exist out there somewhere. Can Apple glue them together better than anyone else with a half-decent battery life? Don’t hold your breath if you’re waiting for a trendy new IronMan watch.
Here are some other thoughts