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Stryd gets a new-look app for Apple Watch
Stryd’s app for Apple Watch always did the job nicely.
Especially over recent years, the capabilities of the Apple Watch have moved on and so Stryd decided that the time was right for a redesign.
There is a whole new look and feel to the app and much of its inner workings. The 5 main changes are these
- Eyes-free workout adds audio cues and text-to-voice prompts
- Always-On display
- Critical Power & Running Stress Balance updated and displayed on Stryd’s Watch app
- Add and customise pages with up to 7-metrics per screen
- Updated in-app settings menu to tailor your experience
Better Workout Execution
Stryd is almost certainly keen to improve the experience of working with their paid-for plans. So now all workouts benefit from text-to-voice prompts and audio cues taken from the steps in your workouts. There’s no need to look at your watch to decipher the next step.
I suspect that people will like new audio options and loathe this in equal measure! It’s not designed to appeal to everyone.
There’s also a redesigned workout screen where you will find clearly displayed, actionable info.
- Real-time power target + visual gauge
- Progress via a lap counter
Don’t forget that Stryd does allow the use of the side buttons to take a lap.
Always On Display
The future of the Apple Watch is with an always-on display first introduced in Series 5. Stryd supports this with their app.
Critical Power (CP) and Running Stress Balance (rSB)
CP and rSB are now shown on the watch although you could equally display the same information on your iPhone with a widget or by opening the app!
7-metrics Per Screen
If your eyesight is better than mine then you will be able to make use of Stryd’s new 7-metric grid. You can have multiple screens with customisable metrics on each screen.
App settings include calibration factors, auto-pause, the ability to turn off the new audio features and more besides.
It’s worth noting that there are now two clear ways to start a workout as Outside or Inside. Inside workouts have an extra screen that lets you manually select the treadmill gradient.
This is a more feature-rich app than its predecessor and it looks good from what I’ve seen so far. The aesthetics and flow need tinkering with in places and it doesn’t all quite fit together properly in my opinion. But it’s a relatively straightforward app so what’s there today doesn’t cause any usability issues.
My thoughts then turn to the future of Stryd.
I assume that most Stryd pods are sold to owners of Garmin Watches and Apple Watches.
By September 2022, Apple will create running power automatically and natively in watchOS 9 for Apple Watch Series 4 onwards without a pod. It seems to me that Stryd has two strategic choices in how to deal with this and deal with it they must
- A Hardware Sales Driven Model – Assume that running power becomes more popular because of Apple’s support. Hope that runners with Apple Watches want a more accurate pod and power running platform that comes with it. They buy Stryd pods.
- A Subscriptions-Driven Model – Let anyone use the Stryd iOS and watchOS apps for free with the Apple Power running data displayed throughout. That could create a very significant number of new users and the ability to convert a portion of them into paying users for the premium services (running plans).
That fundamental decision will determine the future success of Stryd and is far more important than the development and release of a new Stryd pod.
A new pod? The visual design of the Stryd pod is distinctive (but I don’t like it). Whether or not it’s physically redesigned is not relevant to the financial future of the company. Realistically there is not too much more that could be added to a next-gen pod other than the usual suspects
- Longer battery life
- Multiple Bluetooth 5 connections
- Dual-sided pods (highly niche)
None of those additions in a new pod will create a step-change in Stryd’s fortunes. Conversely, a million new Apple Watch users will change Stryd’s fortunes. ‘Owning’ the display, reporting analysis, & management of running power on watchOS will also change its fortunes.
A million users then offer Stryd an exit strategy. With recent trends to calculate running power on the wrist the future of the pod as a mass-market sales generator looks suspect. Who would buy Stryd? A million+ users add value in and of themselves especially if there is a subscription revenue stream attached.
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