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U.S. Apple Watch Users Can Now Connect To Cardio Machines

 U.S. Apple Watch Users Can Now Connect To Cardio Machines

You can now connect your Apple Watch to cardio machines

NEW YORK — Apple’s GymKit has officially kicked off in the U.S., enabling Apple Watch users to connect to cardio machines such as treadmills and stationary bikes in fitness clubs.

The U.S. is the third country to officially roll out this feature, following fitness clubs in Australia last month and one in the U.K. last week. Apple announced GymKit with an update to Apple Watch in June.

For the next few weeks, GymKit will only be available at the luxurious Life Time Athletic at Sky in Manhattan. However, it is set to roll out more widely in early 2018, expanding to other clubs, such as Equinox, that have equipment manufactured by TechnoGym, Life Fitness, StairMaster, Schwinn Fitness and Star Trac that together comprise more than 80 percent of the world’s cardio equipment.

This marks the first time a third-party device is able to communicate back-and-forth with a cardio machine such as a treadmill, stair climber, elliptical or stationary bike.

While the watch can accurately track things such as heart rate and use GPS technology to track outdoor run distances and elevation gains, it was never able provide accurate measurements on cardio equipment indoors. That’s because while the pitch of a treadmill might increase to simulate elevation gain, runners aren’t actually gaining elevation — the treadmill has always outsmarted fitness trackers in that sense.

The fitness machines similarly had weak spots, able to calculate speed, distance, time and elevation gains without being able to accurately track heart rate or calories because they rarely have accurate height, weight, gender or age data about their users.

Now, data is shared between the two on a real-time continuing basis during workouts, with the machine contributing accurate data about speed and elevation, while the watch delivers on personal information about the users, such as heart rate. Together, they ensure that the calories burned reflect the exact energy output of the user.

To get started, users tap their watch against an NFC reader on compatible machines, sort of as one would when paying for groceries at Whole Foods. That connects the two for the entire duration of the workout through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, with both pausing and then restarting in sync as the user stops and resumes their workout.

If the user forgets to tap their watch at the start of the workout, they can do so at any point and the two will sync up from the beginning and adjust the calories burned. Data on both screens match as the two devices communicate, then are erased from the workout machine at the end.

This sharing of data between the two devices marks just the first step in what Apple expects will be a broad use case for its GymKit technology. Eventually, third-party apps might also be integrated into this ecosystem, enabling users to do things such as share their activity with coaches, trainers or health care professionals.

GymKit will likely expand beyond the launch manufacturers and fitness clubs in the coming years. Apple has already been contacted by at-home manufacturers of fitness equipment and the companies that make the kinds of indoor cycling machines one would find at places like SoulCycle. GymKit might also eventually be able to connect with machines that measure strength training. 

                                  Courtesy; www.sporttechie.com