Apple Watch Strava app launched

App tracks time, speed and distance, plus gives real-time Segment feedback

In conjunction with Apple's 'Spring Forward' event in San Francisco today, Apple is giving a peek at the new Strava app for Apple Watch.

Strava has had apps for iOS and Android for some time, but the app for the Apple Watch — which will be available in April — is brand new. Like the smartphone apps, the Watch app let riders and runners track time, speed and distance in real time, receive notifications when approaching Strava segments they have marked as favorites, and sync activities with their online Strava profiles. The Watch app will also show the weekly goal graphic, tracking time or distance each day towards a set goal.

The Watch app is much more developed than the Sony SmartWatch 3 Strava app, which is basically just a remote stop/start button for the smartphone app that must be running on a tethered Android. Similarly, though, the Watch App requires an iPhone to be paired to the Apple Watch via Bluetooth.  In this way, the Apple Watch with the Strava App is similar to the Wahoo Rflkt computer, a handlebar-mounted bike computer that operates like a monitor while using the paired phone as the brains.

Part of Strava’s appeal for many of its millions of users are Segments, sections of road or trail that users mark off as mini race courses. After uploading a ride to Strava, riders are automatically given times and rankings for these Segments. The way most riders experience these Segments is sitting at a computer, having connected a Garmin or other bike computer via USB and uploading the ride file. With the Watch Strava app, riders can see the Segments in real time — when they are approaching, when they have begun, what their elapsed time is and when they finish the Segment. The smartphone apps offer the Real Time feature, but being on a smartphone, it is not a commonly used feature for most riders. With the Watch App, riders can also be shown their time and placement results as soon as they complete a Segment.

“Strava is committed to enhancing the experience for the athlete before, during and after each of his or her activities,” Strava design lead Kyle Yugawa said in a press release. “Strava for Apple Watch fulfills a big part of this commitment by delivering an optimum ‘live’ experience that leverages Apple’s beautiful design and Strava’s interface.”

For riders who also run, the app can toggle between Ride and Run modes.

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