When Fitness+ launched last month, one of the big omissions was the lack of audio-guided outdoor walks or runs — a staple in other fitness and wellness apps like Peloton, Calm, and Aaptiv. Well, you still can’t run (yet) but today, Apple’s introducing guided walks to the service in an aptly named “Time to Walk” feature.
This doesn’t necessarily come as a huge surprise. We first heard rumours about the feature earlier this month via a lil clue in the iOS 14.4 beta. That said, at the time we didn’t know much other than the feature existed and that downloaded episodes would likely delete from the watch upon completion. Given that today is launch day, we now have a few more details.
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For starters, these guided walks aren’t hosted by the cast of Fitness+ coaches. In typical Apple fashion, they’re hosted by big-name celebrities including country music icon Dolly Parton, pop star Shawn Mendes, Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba, and NBA player Draymond Green. Each episode is “shaped by the guest’s personal, life-shaping moments” and will feature a playlist curated by that guest, along with photos that appear on the watch at certain moments.
Apple says the episodes will range from 25 to 40 minutes, and that new episodes featuring different guests will drop every Monday through the end of April. It’s unclear whether Apple will continue with these guided walks after that period, though the press release says that you can go back and visit previous episodes whenever you want. There’s no pace guidance — it appears these guided walks are more in the Calm vibe than for super hardcore speedwalking. And while Apple recommends using AirPods, you can in fact use any Bluetooth headphones that are paired to your Apple Watch and once episodes are downloaded, cellular or wifi connectivity isn’t needed.
In line with Fitness+’s inclusive approach, Time to Walk isn’t limited to the able-bodied. Wheelchair users can also access the episodes, which will be relabeled as Time to Push and automatically record Outdoor Wheelchair Walk Pace workouts.
However, not every Apple Watch will support the feature. As with Fitness+, you need a Series 3 or later and an iPhone 6S, iPhone SE, or later. Your watch also has to be running at least watchOS 7.2 and your phone needs iOS 14.3. Also, you can only get these workouts in the countries where Fitness+ is available — so Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. And lastly, you’ll need to subscribe to Fitness+, though you can get a 1-month trial if you’re an existing Apple Watch owners and a 3-month trial if you recently purchased an Apple Watch.
We haven’t yet had a chance to check this feature out for ourselves, but it’s encouraging to see that Apple’s already experimenting with new features for Fitness+. Now, can a runner maybe get some guided outdoor runs?