Connect with us

Published

on

 

Apple GymKit
GymKit can tap-to-pair with fitness machines. Its display mirrors the Apple Watch. 

Apple just made connecting to treadmills and ellipticals as easy as tapping your Apple Watch on a piece of gym equipment.

GymKit, a feature built into WatchOS 4.1, enables seamless tap-to-connect tech. It’s like CarPlay, but for fitness machines. Apple announced GymKit as a feature for Apple Watch back in June at its WWDC keynote, promising it would arrive this year. It’s just now becoming available.

I tried it, and it’s great. But it’s only rolling out at one North American gym at the moment, in New York: Life Time Athletic at Sky. It’s coming to Equinox as well in 2018.

Simple syncing for workouts

I tried it on my first GymKit workout and it worked just fine. One tap, and I was speed-walking. The treadmill’s display mirrored what my watch would normally show me, with extra data. Basically, the treadmill became a massive paired fitness device.

GymKit works with a simple tap-to-pair process: Tapping a ready piece of equipment starts the process, and the Apple Watch brings up a confirmation screen. With treadmills, it asks if you want to record a walk or a run. From there, everything on the Apple Watch and the fitness machine’s readout are synced: heart rate, pace, active and total calorie estimates, and machine-specific data such as elevation and flights of stairs climbed. Connecting your watch also means the machine shows calorie estimates calculated from your own height and weight data on Apple Health, without adding any extra setup steps on the machine.

Heart-rate data comes from the Apple Watch itself, or from any connected heart-rate device that’s also paired to your Apple Watch, such as a chest strap.

Workouts can be paused on the connected machine, and your watch autopauses, too.

Retroactive pairing

If you happen to miss pairing at the beginning, pairing later on (or even when the workout is finished) will still sync and record the workout into Apple’s Activity app and Apple Health. It’s designed to work with just one tap, like Apple Pay. I tried it on several treadmills, and it was extremely easy to connect.

Workouts saved on watch or phone

When GymKit pairs, info gets sent from Apple Watch to the gym equipment, and erased after that session, while the data also gets sent to your Apple Watch and iPhone where it shows up as a workout, labeled with the brand of equipment used. (It showed up as TechnoGym for me.)

A future of tap-to-pair connected things?

What’s fascinating about GymKit is imagining where this type of connectedness could end up next. For now, GymKit works with professional fitness machines, specifically cardio. Between TechnoGym, Life Fitness, Matrix, Star Trac, Schwinn, Cybex and Stairmaster, Apple claims it will eventually cover 80 percent of the fitness club equipment market.

There’s no reason why this idea couldn’t translate into tap-to-pair for home fitness equipment or sports gear, or maybe even hotel rooms or stores. GymKit works quickly, and exactly like I’d like to have iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches connect for other accessories, too.

But good luck finding a gym that has it right now

Life Time Athletic at Sky in Manhattan is the first gym in which machines have been upgraded to work with GymKit: TechnoGym ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes and stair-climbers will work, and currently there are 13 machines that are GymKit-enabled. Life Time plans to expand to 130 other locations over time, starting next year with locations opened in 2017, but don’t expect to find a GymKit-ready gym around the corner immediately. And, of course, it’s unclear how many other fitness clubs will make the move to upgrade for GymKit.

Equinox is expected to have GymKit locations in 2018 using Life Fitness equipment, with a new New York City location being the first early next year. In Australia, five Fitness First centers will be GymKit-ready.

For now, it’ll be a matter of retrofitting existing equipment with new GymKit-ready NFC and Bluetooth support modules (at a cost that was unclear, based on my hands-on time with it). Future TechnoGym machines going forward will all work with GymKit out of the box, which could mean more compatible gyms over time… provided those gyms bother to upgrade.

A lover of all things tech, love all things that uses creative juices (not an innuendo) an avid blogger and part time vlogger, now stop reading and go check out some awesome posts on this site.

Tech News

Inside JD.com, the giant Chinese firm that could eat Amazon alive

Published

on

Pujiang Pu is a smiley, medium-built man in his mid-forties with stylish glasses, a bling gold watch, and a red JD lanyard around his neck. Along with many of the 150,000 employees of JD.com – a city-size e-commerce store sometimes referred to as the Amazon of China – he lives in a free dorm near one of the company’s 500 gigantic warehouses. The warehouse I visit is in Jiading, 30km north-west of Shanghai’s city centre. Hundreds of people work here, and at 100,000 square metres in size it sits on a JD complex so big it would take at least 45 minutes to walk from one end to the other.

I am allowed here as part of a rare, highly supervised press visit, and warehouse manager Pu is our tour guide. I am not shown everything, but enough to impress – or, as some analysts believe, to show that JD is a kind of company Amazon ultimately wants to become.

JD wasn’t always that big. It started out as a small brick and mortar store in Beijing, founded in 1998 by Richard Liu. Then in 2004, Liu moved it online and JD.com, short for Jingdong, was born. Fast-forward to today, and the firm is worth more than $55 billion. In February, logistics magazine DC Velocity called it “the biggest company you may not know all that much about”. Not for much longer though – JD is so growing so fast at home in China and expanding so rapidly into other markets such as Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam and most recently Europe, that even the most devout Amazonians will soon sit up and notice.

The main reason Pu stays in a dorm on site, and away from his family, is to ensure he can meet key performance indicators set by the firm. Sometimes, especially during JD.com’s annual shopping event, he has to work late into the night.

But the future of these dorms is uncertain. Many traditional warehouse jobs like stacking shelves and packing boxes at JD are likely to go to robots in the coming years, as the company starts to automate everything that can sensibly be automated. The tech giant is now busy retraining some staff to take on new roles that machines can’t yet do. Pu’s warehouses have some of the firm’s most advanced robotics – and he gets really excited talking about the autonomous forklift trucks and delivery drones.

These drones have been in the news a lot lately. Remember when Amazon’s boss Jeff Bezos made claims that his firm would soon drop parcels off at your doorstep? Well, that was in 2013 – and, some small-scale trials aside, it’s still not happening. But it’s very much happening at JD – since March 2016, its drones have been delivering products across China, having clocked over 300,000 minutes of flight time. “Today we have over 200 people working on our drone programme,” says Zheng Cui, director of the firm’s drone R&D centre in Xi’an.

The drones come in various shapes and sizes, but the quickest ones can fly up to 100km/h and have a range of 100km. So far though, the furthest delivery has been 15km and that drone flew much slower than 100km/h – but you have to start somewhere. What the drones can’t do yet, JD does with its 65,000 van drivers and couriers.

The drone efforts haven’t gone unnoticed though, and other companies are keen to replicate JD’s air delivery success. Cui says more and more firms are getting in touch to buy their drones. “We’ve just got an order for 1,000 at the beginning of this year,” he adds.

Those drones are still fairly small, but JD is busy developing larger ones that can carry up to five tonnes. “They’ll transfer inventory from one warehouse to another,” says Cui. “Within three years we’re looking at having a couple of thousand,” he says – and they will take off right from existing small airports near the company’s warehouses.

It’s not just the drones that make the Chinese behemoth different from Western e-commerce stores, though. Robots at JD are everywhere. In the warehouse I visit, machines stack tens of thousands of products on 24-metre-high shelves. Over the road from where I am, another fully automated warehouse can pack and ship 200,000 products a day. Robots are not alone yet, though: the fully automated warehouse has four human helpers.

Automation, growth, scale – the mega but still relatively unknown giant seems unlikely to slow down. Its revenues are growing 40 per cent a year, up to $55.7 billion in 2017. The company’s spokespeople tell us proudly the firm is the third largest “internet company” in the world by revenue after Google and Amazon, but ahead of companies like Facebook, eBay and Alibaba, its biggest rival.

It has major backers such as Tencent — the largest internet company in China by market cap and the owner of WeChat. Other investors are Walmart, which has a ten per cent stake, and even Google, which last month announced it was investing $550 million into JD to help it expand further outside China.

And the e-commerce giant is busy doing just that. In January, it opened its first European office, in Paris. It now aims to open another one in Milan, and is actively partnering with Spanish and other European brands – especially luxury ones. In 2017, Chinese made up 32 per cent of the worldwide luxury market.

JD’s response: last October, it launched Toplife, a platform for luxury buyers that can benefit from same-day deliveries and premium services, such as ultra-clean and secure warehouses with special air filters. Over just a few months, Toplife has already signed up 20 brands, including Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. Amazon beware.

Source link

Continue Reading

Tech News

LG G7 ThinQ Is Now Available In the US for $750

Published

on

LG waited longer than normal to announce its big 2018 flagship phone, but it finally took the wraps off the LG G7 ThinQ a few weeks ago. Today, the phone is available for purchase on most US carriers. While LG has had trouble competing with the likes of Samsung, it’s still targeting the same premium space. Although, it’s got an iPhone-style screen notch now. That’s what consumers want, right?

The LG G7 ThinQ is the epitome of all things 2018 in smartphone design. It has a glass back, dual cameras, and a display notch that isn’t done particularly well. The missing bit of screen provides a place for the camera, earpiece, and some other sensors. It does seem a little excessively large for how compact these components are, though. In addition, the G7 has a “chin” at the bottom with a larger bezel than the top and bottom. This asymmetric look isn’t as striking as the iPhone X it imitates. The 6.1-inch 1440p display is also an OLED, which lacks the vibrancy of modern OLED panels.

Inside, this phone has all the current flagship hardware you’d expect with a Snapdragon 845, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. Unlike many other current smartphones, the company has opted to keep the headphone jack for the G7 ThinQ. LG also touts the G7’s unique speaker design that uses the entire chassis as a resonator to boost sound output.

You may be wondering about the name — specifically the “ThinQ” bit. Well, that’s LG’s expanded brand for all its AI technologies. What that means for the G7 is that there’s an AI mode in the camera that looks for objects it can identify and offers possible filters. It’s not very accurate or useful, but LG didn’t even develop any AI software or hardware for this phone. It just licensed a machine vision library from a third-party.

The LG G7 ThinQ is available from all major carriers in the US except AT&T. Apparently, AT&T chose to sell the LG V35 instead of the G7. This marks the third variant of the V30 that LG has sold since it debuted last year. At other carriers, the G7 ThinQ will run you $750, give or take a few dollars. Carriers offer payment plans to split the cost over two years. It will launch on Google’s Project Fi soon, as well. If you don’t want to go through carriers, the phone is also available from Amazon.

 

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending