Monday, August 03, 2015

My Tech Wearables Column in Competitor Magazine, First Thoughts on the Apple Watch

Competitor Magazine a leading running magazine recently asked me to pen a monthly page on tech wearables for fitness. No shortage of interesting fitness gadgets these days... So I have been running with up to 4 gizmos on my wrist here in Park City and will post my first  article when it publishes in the next few weeks. 
Of course one tech wearable everyone is talking about is the Apple Watch. In many ways the functionality is still weak awaiting decently featured apps with Watch 2.0 software which will allow developers (Strava, RunKeeper, iSmoothrun, etc..) to actually access the watch functions beyond not much more than mere display of phone apps on your wrists.  This said I have been delighted with the Watch. The hardware is beautiful, the interface and touch screen and crown are intuitively designed. The heart rate function is rock solid, the phone based activity monitoring app is beautifully executed, if not exactly for the hardcore. The battery life is adequate. I get a day including a decent run and believe a big part of battery life is a function of the first, somewhat inefficient apps. 
The Watch does not have GPS so I am testing the accuracy of the tuning of the pedometer by the phone's GPS, the way Apple claims the pedometer is tuned, to see how accurate I can get it for phone less running. Yesterday the Watch without phone GPS, just the accelerometer pedometer after a solid dozen runs with the phone and watch synching,  showed me running 3.3% further than Garmin VivoActive GPS did. Not too bad, but not there yet for race purposes. As I did not take my phone, I missed the chance to take a picture of Shalane Flanagan and 5 other Nike gals flying down the same  super sunny and beautiful Park City bike path during our run!
I am amazed by the ability to make and answer phone calls on your wrist with phone nearby, even did this while in the shower!  My callers tell me the mic is excellent and the speaker more than adequate if you drive with the windows up! Quickly answering a text message with canned "OK", thumbs up, or Siri without getting the phone out is a welcome step forward as is glancing at other incoming notifications. Strangely you can't yet reply to emails with Siri. 

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