App roundup: Best fitness apps that use the iPhone 5s' M7 motion co-processor

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2014
The M7 motion co-processor Apple packed into the iPhone 5s is already seeing use from a number of fitness app developers anxious to maximize its potential as a new health and wellness platform.


The Nike+ Move app, revealed alongside the iPhone 5s, will soon take advantage of the M7 motion co-processor.


Apple didn't exactly hype the M7 when it introduced the chip last month in announcing the iPhone 5s, but among the handset's many new features, the co-processor may turn out to be the most impactful for app developers and consumers alike.

Using very little power, the M7 constantly measures and tracks motion data, keeping the information accessible to any apps that may need it. That means fitness and lifestyle apps no longer need to be active or running in the background to track user movements throughout the day, a benefit that could allow developers to harvest and utilize information on their users' daily habits in much greater detail than previously possible.

Developers on the iOS platform are already taking advantage of the M7's capabilities, with the first wave of enabled apps coming to the App Store just days after the iPhone 5s' release.

Strava Run



Strava was first out of the gate to take advantage of the M7, releasing version 3.5.3 of Strava Run just four days after the iPhone 5s was released.

The new version adds an Auto-Pause feature for runners, giving them highly accurate activity level data without having to directly interact with the app. It also takes advantage of the M7's low-power constant monitoring, as the app gathers information from the chip for those times when Strava is not running.

Auto-Pause kicks in whenever the M7 senses that you stop moving, whether to take a break, respond to an email, or use the app?s new built in Instagram integration to snap a photo. While paused, the app automatically turns off GPS, saving battery life.

The app also suspends real-time pace information until the M7 senses you?ve started running again. As the company explains, "If you were running a 7 minute mile pace but stopped for two minutes to take and upload a photo (finishing the mile in 9 minutes) the audio cues and pace data on your iPhone will continue to show that you kept a 7 minute mile pace."

Strava allows users to track their runs via GPS, displaying maps of their route alongside stats such as distance, pace, elevation, and calories burned. It also allows users to compete on interactive score boards, find and follow friends, and explore new places to run.

Strava Run is a free download in the App Store. The 53.7MB app requires an iPhone, iPad, or iPod running iOS 5.0 or higher.

WeatherRun



GammaPoint, too, has taken advantage of the M7 with version 2.2.1 of WeatherRun. The new version adds a step counter that draws data from the motion co-processor. Step data is logged and organized in both daily and monthly measures.

WeatherRun provides users with up-to-date weather information while they are outside being active. The app also tracks activity and compares it against weather, altitude, humidity, and temperature. It interfaces with the Pebble Smartwatch, as well as other Bluetooth 4.0 devices such as the TI SensorTag.

The latest update also includes a fix for a bug that affected deleting and sharing functions on devices running iOS 7.

Version 2.2.1 of WeatherRun costs $2 in the App Store. It is a 12.2MB download that requires an iPad, iPhone, or iPod running iOS 6.0 or higher.

Argus



Also joining in on leveraging the M7 was Azumio, which recently released version 2.4 of its Argus app. The latest iteration uses the M7 for passive step-counting when not running, meaning the app automatically pulls data from the chip once the reactivated. The update also includes a streamlined honeycomb user interface and improved visual design, including a step counter that shows up as an app badge.

Argus monitors not only user activities, but food intake, workouts, sleep, hydration, weight, and vital signs. The app is engineered to consume very little power and is designed to run in the background at all times. Users can create food diaries, observe trends over time, and track and share data with friends. Also included is interaction with a number of third-party wellness devices, like the Withings Smart Body Analyzer.

The new version of Argus is available as a free download in the App Store for iOS devices running iOS 6.0 or higher.

Pedometer



The most recent addition to the line of M7-supporting apps comes from Cross Forward Consulting, which debuted its Pedometer++ app on Tuesday. The new app functions as a simple step counter that relies on the M7's passive monitoring to log steps taken throughout the day. Pedometer++ allows users to compile their data on both a weekly and a daily basis. Like Argus, Pedometer++ can be set to display the current step count as the app's notification badge. The figure displayed in the badge will dynamically update throughout the day.

Pedometer++ version 1.1 is available now in the App Store as a free 0.3MB download only for the iPhone 5s.

Maximizing the M7

The coming months will almost certainly see more developers adding new features relying on the M7. Nike, maker of the popular Nike+ app, has already promised a Nike+ Move based on the M7's capabilities.

Apple's motion co-processor will also likely figure into apps outside of the fitness category. In addition to user motion tracking, the M7 can, even in sleep mode, tell when a user is walking or driving. For example, navigation apps may leverage the data to switch from driving to walking directions dynamically depending on a user's speed.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    tomhayestomhayes Posts: 126member
    Thanks for pointing these out, I'm trying Argus and Pedometer now.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    akqiesakqies Posts: 768member
    I installed Pedometer but all it said was YES and then some guy named Chris Hanson showed up at my door.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by akqies View Post



    I installed Pedometer but all it said was YES and then some guy named Chris Hanson showed up at my door.

     

    LOL, now that's funny!

  • Reply 4 of 27
    So, the M7 could be potentially used to, say, disable texting while driving? Or calling while driving? Unless it knows somehow that you're in a hands-free/Siri mode?

    I wonder how it'll figure out that you're the driver and not a passenger.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    akqiesakqies Posts: 768member
    So, the M7 could be potentially used to, say, disable texting while driving? Or calling while driving? Unless it knows somehow that you're in a hands-free/Siri mode?

    I wonder how it'll figure out that you're the driver and not a passenger.

    Or if you're on a bus or the metro.

    I can't think of how this could get implemented or why someone would use this but not show discretion whilst driving (unless it's a parental control) but it's an interesting idea nonetheless.
  • Reply 6 of 27
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,322member

    The M7 will also compensate for when I take a break to download, too?

  • Reply 7 of 27

    I'm switching from Nike+ to Strava Run.

     

    Nike+ has become a real hassle....can't listen to Podcasts while running anymore! Ugh!

  • Reply 8 of 27
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

     

    I'm switching from Nike+ to Strava Run.

     

    Nike+ has become a real hassle....can't listen to Podcasts while running anymore! Ugh!


     

    Yup. Strava Run looks like a good app. Too bad I prefer swimming nowadays so M7 or not, it just doesn't matter.

  • Reply 9 of 27
    I assume GPS now works in airplane mode.
    Or is this just marketing considering its a bit like the co-processor in Tegra 3 and 4 and many other chipsets.
    I also think the Kindle tablet has 2 Cortex M3 for a sort of M7a and an M7b.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,387member
    I'm switching from Nike+ to Strava Run.

    Nike+ has become a real hassle....can't listen to Podcasts while running anymore! Ugh!

    I really like the Running app from Nike. And it lets you add a podcast as a power song. Their be interface is also nice, showing the route taken, ascend and descent, splits et cetera. Never used nike+ so can't comment on that.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,387member
    matrix07 wrote: »

    Yup. Strava Run looks like a good app. Too bad I prefer swimming nowadays so M7 or not, it just doesn't matter.

    I hope to one day participate in a triathlon. You swim, may I ask, do you use a watch to record your performance? And if so, which brand, and why. I use a Garmin on my bicycle but the thing is total crap and therefore hesitate to get a watch from them. Thanks.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post





    I hope to one day participate in a triathlon. You swim, may I ask, do you use a watch to record your performance? And if so, which brand, and why. I use a Garmin on my bicycle but the thing is total crap and therefore hesitate to get a watch from them. Thanks.

     

    Still yet to find a thing I'm happy with. Look at Suunto but it's more like for diving rather than just swimming. So no records at all. :(

  • Reply 13 of 27
    The M7 shows promise. Usefulness is dependent on the variety of external devices that can attach to the iPhone and make use of the M7. With enough flexibility here, one can foresee the spawning of a new industry of health and medical monitoring centralized around the iPhone 5s and presumably the upcoming iPads.

    As an aside, I noticed statements above about altitude measurements. Is this new, part of the GPS system?
  • Reply 14 of 27
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,387member
    matrix07 wrote: »
    philboogie wrote: »
    I hope to one day participate in a triathlon. You swim, may I ask, do you use a watch to record your performance? And if so, which brand, and why. I use a Garmin on my bicycle but the thing is total crap and therefore hesitate to get a watch from them. Thanks.

    Still yet to find a thing I'm happy with. Look at Suunto but it's more like for diving rather than just swimming. So no records at all. :(

    Good tip, as I haven't heard of this brand. I'll check it out - thanks!
  • Reply 15 of 27
    akqiesakqies Posts: 768member
    matrix07 wrote: »
    Yup. Strava Run looks like a good app. Too bad I prefer swimming nowadays so M7 or not, it just doesn't matter.

    Hopefully we'll see waterproof, wearable electronics from Apple that will support this. Perhaps the oft rumoured iWatch.

    In the mean time, if you really want to utilize the M7 whilst swimming there are those waterproof cases for the iPhone. I have one for the iPod Shuffle for swimming so it's not to much bulk. I can't say I've seen a waterproof iPhone 5/5S case that wasn't the size of the boat.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    akqies wrote: »
    I installed Pedometer but all it said was YES and then some guy named Chris Hanson showed up at my door.
    LOL, now that's funny!

    and facetious!...
  • Reply 17 of 27
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    philboogie wrote: »
    I hope to one day participate in a triathlon. You swim, may I ask, do you use a watch to record your performance? And if so, which brand, and why. I use a Garmin on my bicycle but the thing is total crap and therefore hesitate to get a watch from them. Thanks.

    the garmin jogging watchs also can act as cyclocomputers... with the right sensors... (and if you have a garmin cyclocomputer the sensors used should also work with the garmin jogging watch... though maybe only the high end watchs havethis feature)


    i use the garmin edge 705 on my bicycle...
  • Reply 18 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by haar View Post







    and facetious!...

     

    Ummmm, obviously.

     

    Chris Hanson has nothing to do with pedometers and all to do with pedophiles, which is the basis for the joke....hence....funny.

     

    Get it?? Hardy haar haar. :) 

  • Reply 19 of 27
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,387member
    haar wrote: »
    the garmin jogging watchs also can act as cyclocomputers... with the right sensors... (and if you have a garmin cyclocomputer the sensors used should also work with the garmin jogging watch... though maybe only the high end watchs havethis feature)


    i use the garmin edge 705 on my bicycle...

    I'm using the Oregon 550t with a HRM and Cadence meter, both using ANT+. The software is total shyte so not inclined to buy anything from Garmin, still I'll take a look at their jogging watch simply because I shouldn't completely rule out a company (if you are using it lol).

    Their Forerunner 910XT is €399 I won't need the €479 'triathlon bundle' as I already have the other 2 monitors. But it's from Feb 2012, perhaps there's a new model coming out soon but since I don't know maybe I shouldn't wait for the latest & greatest.

    What I don't have is their 'Vector' meter for measuring the power on the bike pedals. Perhaps that's a little over the top...
  • Reply 20 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,484member
    philboogie wrote: »
    I'm using the Oregon 550t with a HRM and Cadence meter, both using ANT+. The software is total shyte so not inclined to buy anything from Garmin, still I'll take a look at their jogging watch simply because I shouldn't completely rule out a company (if you are using it lol).

    Their Forerunner 910XT is €399 I won't need the €479 'triathlon bundle' as I already have the other 2 monitors. But it's from Feb 2012, perhaps there's a new model coming out soon but since I don't know maybe I shouldn't wait for the latest & greatest.

    What I don't have is their 'Vector' meter for measuring the power on the bike pedals. Perhaps that's a little over the top...

    There was an update with several bugfixes for the 910 back in June. I haven't seen any reported issues with it so you should probably apply it if you haven't already. There's also a few new features that look worthwhile included in the update.

    EDIT: There's even a more recent one that I overlooked.
    http://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=5675
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