Apple WatchOS 2.0 is all about native watch apps that let you use your Apple Watch without being tied to a smartphone, and Runkeeper’s new Apple Watch app is now joining in on Apple’s new effort with a new version of its app, “built from the ground up.” The new Runkeeper Apple Watch app will track your distance without having your iPhone with you, but there’s still little information as to how Runkeeper is able to provide an untethered fitness app.
How does Runkeeper do it?
The iPhone features GPS technology that tracks your route on a given run each day or however often you exercise, so it makes sense to use your Apple Watch in conjunction with your iPhone. At the same time, however, it’s becoming popular to not need your iPhone at certain times in order to do ordinary tasks. Why carry your iPhone or worry about pocket when you can have all your necessary information and technology on your wrist? Sometimes, you want to “travel light,” and an untethered smartwatch is the ideal way to go to become even more mobile than consumers already are.
How does Runkeeper provide this Apple Watch app that tracks your distance without GPS? It seems to be the case that Runkeeper relies on the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the Apple Watch’s motion coprocessor to track steps, heart rate, time, distance, and pace. Runkeeper CEO Jason Jacobs has also said that the company intends to add split times to its list of standalone Apple Watch capabilities within its Runkeeper app down the line – so the standalone experience will only improve.
Why is the new Runkeeper Apple Watch app beneficial?
The new Runkeeper Apple Watch app is beneficial for smartwatch users because of the fact that Apple doesn’t yet have a cellular-connected smartwatch on its hands. Most smartwatch users rely on Bluetooth-only models to stay on top of the latest technology, and few see the need to pay a monthly data bill for a cellular-connected smartwatch (even if it only costs $5 a month, as Verizon and T-Mobile, among other US carriers, are offering at the moment for 3G-connected smartwatches such as Samsung’s Gear S from 2014).
With WatchOS 2.0, however, Apple will create some sort of untethered experience that will at least satisfy a large number of its customers. As said above, there is no GPS in the Apple Watch, and Runkeeper has relied on GPS tracking for its app since 2008 when it entered the App Store, but a large portion of Runkeeper’s 40-million customer base wants to “access the service without carrying their phone around,” CEO Jacobs told VentureBeat.
If you’re an Apple Watch user, you can head here to download Runkeeper’s standalone app.