Another year, another iPhone launch has come and gone. To be more specific the iPhone 5s. Many have argued that it lacks innovation. However, if Apple dropped in a 4.5 or 4.7-inch screen the response would have been anything but. However, the reality is that the iPhone 5s is a solid step forward. And part of that leap can perhaps be found in Apple’s M7. It’s a separate processor that is dedicated to tracking movement. The result is improved battery life and a host of apps that can reflect the measured motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass – a set of tasks that would normally fall to the A7 chip.
The M7 can be used in a few ways. First off, it’s always on and tracking. Yes, even if you don’t have an app associated with it, the M7 processor is tracking your motion. One of the more innovative, but less popular known ways, is that the iPhone 5s can track if you’re in a car or not. If it determines you’re moving at a speed greater than, say walking, it won’t incessantly ask you if you’d like to join a close by WiFi network. You know how annoying this can be if you’re trying to access an app, and instead you’re continuously barraged with “Would you like to join X WiFi network”. The M7 can also automatically tells apps to switch maps from driving to walking turn-by-turn directions if you end up parking and walking the remainder of your route. But none of these compare in popularity to the ability to track your daily steps (i.e. pedometer).
Apple showed off Nike’s Move+ app at the iPhone 5s keynote. Unfortunately, that app is no where to be found and Nike hasn’t said when it will be launched. Until then, you can turn to these apps to track your steps with your iPhone 5s. Just remember, you’ll need provide each app with access to the M7’s processor. That said, soon as you install and launch a compatible M7 app , you’ll be able to review your steps over at least the last week – I could.
1. Weather Run (paid)
This is the only paid app of the bunch – it’s $1.99 – and it’s compatible with the Pebble Watch. In addition to a customizable dashboard that can be modified by dragging and dropping, the Weather Run app can track distance, speed, duration and your path. When finished you can share your stats on Facebook and other social sites. The Weather Run app is also compatible with the TI SensorTag. It connects via Bluetooth and more accurately measures local altitude, pressure, temp & humidity readings.
You can buy Weather Run here.
2. Argus (free)
The Argus app has a very interesting interface that will instantly populate with the M7’s data as soon as you install and launch the app. It can work in tandem with your iPhone’s GPS as well as the M7 processor. But before any of that can happen you’ll have to sign up for an account and provide the app with permission to access your phone’s location services. Until you do that, you won’t be able to use the app. On top of tracking your steps, you can also keep tabs on your water consumption, and aggregate stats from their Heart and Sleeping apps, provided you’ve paid for those apps and installed them on your iPhone. Argus also works with the Withings scale and tells you the weather forecast at a glance, which isn’t vital but convenient.
You can download Argus for free.
3. Pedometer ++ (free)
This is a super simple app. Just install and it Pedometer ++ will instantly tell you the number of completed steps for today and the the number of accrued steps for the last 7 days. The only other feature: a badge step count that reflect your daily total steps. Convenient if you want to see your steps for the day at a glance.
You can down Pedometer for free.
4. M7 Pedometer (free)
The M7 Pedometer is very similar to Pedometer++ in that it’s very simple. It shows you your daily steps, as well as all of your steps for the current week (starting on Sunday) and your total steps for the year. A tab at the bottom lets you switch from the steps view to the a graph view so you can see how your exercise fluctuates.
You can download M7 Pedometer for free.
5. Strava Run (free)
Strava Run uses the iPhone 5s’s M7 processor a bit differently than the 4 apps listed above. Instead of tallying your daily steps, or lack there of, the M7 processor works in tandem with the iPhone’s GPS signal (this measures distance ran and at what speed). So when you stop running the Strava app knows when to “pause”. Or if you switch from running to walking it can make note of this in your log history.
You can download Strava Run free.
Honorable Mention: Nike Move+ App (free)
As mentioned this is the app that Apple featured in the iPhone 5s’s keynote. Unfortunately, the app is not available for download. Nike says that it will be complementary to their Fuelband, though one can’t help but wonder why they’d create what at a glance seems like a competing app/product. Thats aid, the Nike Move+ app will generate a daily Fuel score much like the Fuelband, but it is said to not include as much detailed info.