In just a few more days, we will have all of the details about the new iPhones and the new Apple Watch 3. With many bits of information already floating around the wild, I think it is clear that Apple is making yet another effort with the Apple Watch 3 for runners.
Apple Making Big Push with Apple Watch 3 For Runners
The most searched and read post on my site over the past year has been about Apple Watch vs Garmin. This is because many people really want to know how the Apple Watch stacks up against the tried and true Garmin watches for runners and multi-sport athletes. It is clear that this has been a goal of Apple from the introduction of the very first Apple Watch and I believe we will see them demonstrate it again come this Tuesday.
How Apple Is Pushing the Apple Watch for Runners
First Apple Watch Reveal
At the introduction of the first Apple Watch, you may remember that Apple gave quite a bit of stage time to Christy Turlington Burns as she talked about how important the Apple Watch was to her and for her training for her upcoming marathon.
In fact, Apple even gave her a blog on their website for her to keep readers up to date on how her training (with the Apple Watch) was progressing. Definitely a big push to pull runners in.
Second Apple Watch Reveal – GPS
But, the first Apple Watch had one big handicap – it needed the iPhone if you wanted to have GPS tracking. It could keep track of your runs with its built-in sensors but the numbers were always quite a bit off in my running with it.
So, last year, Apple Watch introduced the Apple Watch Series 2 with built-in GPS. This was definitely another push for runners. Of course, it could be used for hiking, as well as other assorted activities but Apple was pushing it for being for running. With GPS, the Apple Watch Series 2 definitely became a more capable watch for runners.
Second Apple Watch Reveal – Nike
It did not stop with GPS, though! Apple also introduced the Apple Watch Nike+. This came with exclusive Nike faces and groups. It was definitely a big push by Apple to bring in a longtime provider of running gear (as well as the company that is an exclusive partner with the USATF) to share its identity to encourage more runners to purchase and use the Apple Watch.
This Year’s Apple Watch Reveal – LTE
Rumors are strong and confident that this will be the year that Apple rolls out the Apple Watch with built-in LTE for data connectivity – independent of the iPhone. Many Apple blogs had speculated why this was even necessary and who this was targeted at. Some got it right – it is targeted at runners. Of course, anyone that wants to run to the store and leave the phone in the house can benefit as well but there are tons of runners that would love to leave their phone home but they bring it with them in case of emergency and contact (and I am in that group as well).
With an LTE-equipped Apple Watch, I (and thousands of other runners) could finally leave our phones at home without worrying about missing that important message or email. We would also be able to use FaceTime for calling (and perhaps other VoIP apps) for actually calling people in a pinch (the rumors are it will not have actual calling enabled, initially anyway). And all of that could be done while leaving our phones at home.
How Great Could the Apple Watch 3 for Runners Be?
So, could the Apple Watch 3 be the smartwatch for runners? Here are some things that I (will) love about it:
- has onboard music storage (to stream to your Bluetooth headphones)
- data connectivity to stay in touch on the run
- Apple Pay to pay for anything needed while on the run
- Apps that could be used on certain runs (for instance, Uber if you wanted to do a point-to-point run)
One Negative with Apple Watch for Runners
But, there is one thing that would likely be a difficult task for Apple to overcome for now (especially with LTE) – battery life. My current watch is the Garmin Fenix 5. With all-day use and running almost every day, I can get at least 5 days (or more) out of its battery. With the Apple Watch, the battery life when using things like GPS takes a serious hit. I remember the original one would not get through a 4 hour run so improvements are being made. But, I would think it would not be something to be complete category killer until they can get 8-10 hours of running out of it and a few days of regular usage.