Gymkit will make its debut around the world thanks to a collaboration between Apple and Fitness First.
The much-anticipated feature gives the Apple Watch the ability to communicate with fitness machines using near-field communication (NFC). It is included in watchOS 4.1 among other features such as support for Apple Music streaming, a WiFi toggle that lets users manually switch to cellular connectivity, and a redesigned Apple Radio app.
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This week, Apple’s Director of Fitness and Health Technologies, Jay Blahnik, was in Sydney for the launch of the first gym to be outfitted with GymKit. This gym was located in the Sydney Olympic Park.
“We wanted to streamline the experience of using cardio machines while still making them more precise than they’ve ever been.” According to a statement that he released to the media, “with a short tap on your favorite cardiovascular equipment, you’ll observe, for the first time, two-way data interchange in real time.” This will result in the most accurate measurements possible while requiring less device management.
“As of right now, when Apple Watch customers are working out, the measurements that they see on their wrist coincide with the numbers that appear on the equipment.”
Users are able to pair their device immediately to cardio machines such as treadmills, ellipticals, indoor bikes, or stair steppers with only the push of a button using GymKit. This means that data on both ends, like heart rate, speed, distance, and incline, will sync, resulting in more precise measurements. When you finish your workout, the information is recorded on your watch, and the gym equipment is wiped clean of any personal information that may have been stored on it.
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Apple has also begun collaborating with a variety of other brands, including LifeFitness, Matrix, Cyber, StairMaster, Schwinn, and TechnoGym. GymKit is now only functional at that one gym in Australia. However, the company plans to extend it to additional countries within the next several months.