Big news from tech giant Apple. Their latest iteration of the operating system, WatchOS 10, has the potential to revolutionize how gravel cyclists monitor their rides. If you’re an Apple Watch user and an avid cyclist, prepare to ride into a more data-driven future.
From modest beginnings as a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor, the Apple Watch is quickly becoming the cyclist’s best friend. WatchOS 10 promises to supercharge your cycling experience with native support for Bluetooth cycling sensors for speed and cadence. Furthermore, it will support Bluetooth power meters, allowing cyclists to access comprehensive data on their rides. As a first for the Workouts app, this means your performance statistics are not only available for your scrutiny but also accessible to third-party apps. Looking forward to seeing those power meter statistics on Strava? Apple has you covered.
In another major leap forward, Apple has incorporated smart trainer support, directly in the Workouts app. Cyclists can now utilize their Apple Watch for structured training, bringing about a new level of detail to their workout analysis. Apple’s power meter display can now also determine your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) and cycling power zones automatically. These insights could revolutionize how you approach your training and performance.
Worried about viewing your stats while pounding the pedals? Apple has the answer. The latest iOS update allows cycling workouts started on the Apple Watch to automatically appear as a Live Activity on your iPhone’s lock screen. Simply unlock your phone to see your current and average speed, distance, heart rate, and power meter data.
The convenience doesn’t end there. Downloadable offline maps will be available for the native Apple Maps app, ensuring you always know the right route, even when you’re offline. Remember, your Apple Watch will display these offline maps as long as it’s within range of your iPhone.
Apple’s WatchOS 10 is not just an incremental update; it’s a significant leap in smartwatch functionality for cyclists. The integration and utility it offers present a viable alternative to dedicated cycling computers and poses a serious challenge to other smartwatches in the market, like those from Garmin, Wahoo, and Suunto. We anticipate an official release of these features around September 2023, with beta testing available as early as July 2023.
While it’s true that you can’t natively use your Apple Watch as a heart rate monitor with your Garmin or Wahoo computer, third-party apps like the HRM Heart Rate Monitor app can still help bridge the gap.