Apple today launched it’s rumoured ‘Time to Walk’ Apple Watch feature. Featuring an ‘inspiring’ talk and mini-playlist from a well known public figure, these weekly releases are meant to accompany you on a 30-40 walk.
I tried it out this evening, and here’s what I thought.
So, the TL;DR is that this is a podcast series from Apple. Their first one. It’s not a fitness workout, and it’s an exaggeration to call it that.
Apple has pitched this as a work out companion, and yes, it is. But so is literally anything else you listen to on a walk; be it music, podcast, white noise or whatever.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, but the idea is mainly in the content of the podcast. A famous person (I chose Uzo Aduba as she’s a fantastic actress but I don’t know much about her as a person) tells you a very relaxed, unscripted tale of inspiration. For Uzo, it was the build-up to getting her breakout role on Orange is the New Black. It’s a nice little story that she tells while walking her dog in New York.
That’s the first nice touch here; she’s walking with you. You can hear her walking and the environment around her. You feel part of it. However, if I listen with noise cancelling on, I feel a bit isolated from my world. Then again, if I have transparency mode on, I can’t hear what’s happening around Uzo.
After an enjoyably rambling chat Uzo introduces 3 songs she’s picked (including a banger from Lauren Hill), and that’s it.
After downloading the podcast, I mean ‘Time to Walk Episode’ all you do is select it from the workout app on your watch and start walking. That’s it. Your watch will kick when there is a picture to look at as part of the story, but I only noticed once for Uzo and the picture disappeared before I could look at it properly. There is no way to retrieve it.
From then on, it just works as an audio source like any other workout, just a swipe away in the workout app. You can pause the episode and keep the workout going and vice versa. If you end the workout, the episode also ends, which is a bit silly if you finish your walk a couple of minutes early and still have more to listen to.
All this brings is a more convenient way to start a workout and podcast simultaneously, with one tap. But does it really bother you that you usually have to start other audio with a couple more taps in another app?!
What this really shows is that Apple can produce a nice podcast, because that’s what this is. It’s a nice idea - walking with a famous person while they tell a nice tale and pick some music - but this is just a podcast. To say it’s offering anything more is an exaggeration.
One final note. If you are a wheelchair user, it’s called ‘Time to Push’. Great. However, to use this feature, you need a Fitness+ subscription. But as I mentioned before, Fitness+ offers nothing for you if you are in a wheelchair. So why would you have a subscription and so be able to use ‘Time to Push’? I hope this just means that wheelchair workouts are imminent on Fitness+. It also shows that Apple isn't sitting still with Fitness+. That's brilliant news.