Apple just pushed out the release candidate version of watchOS 7.3 beta – meaning a public launch is going to happen in the very near future – and it mentions the new Time to Walk feature coming to the Apple Watch for subscribers to Apple Fitness Plus.
We saw the first signs of Time to Walk back at the start of the month, but now Apple has provided an official blurb. It will apparently provide "an audio experience in the Workout app where guests share inspiring stories as you walk".
You'll be able to select the new type of workout from your watch, then get a timed audio accompaniment to go with your wanderings. The walk will of course be logged in the Apple Health app as usual and contribute to your daily activity score.
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As spotted by MacRumors, an Apple Fitness Plus promo video that's since been deleted suggests that singer Shawn Mendes is going to be providing one of the first stories. New stories will get added over time, and you'll have the option to automatically download them to your wearable.
Apple Fitness Plus went live on December 14, 2020, just in time for you to make getting fitter one of your new year resolutions. The service costs $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$14.99 per month, or $79.99 / £79.99 / AU$119.99 per year, though Apple Watch owners can try it for free for a month. Buy a new Apple Watch, and you get a 3-month trial.
The Apple Watch is an essential part of the Fitness Plus experience, logging your workouts and activity, and even showing your stats in real time in the Fitness Plus app (which you can load up on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV).
Apple will know that it needs to keep adding features and functionality to compete with alternative fitness subscriptions, including Peloton and Fitbit Premium. With so many of us stuck at home at the moment, indoor workout plans that you can do without visiting the gym are seeing a boom in popularity.
Look out for the watchOS 7.3 update to appear in the coming days: it also features a new Unity watch face that's inspired by the colors of the Pan-African flag, and enables ECG support in more countries (including Japan, Mayotte, the Philippines and Thailand).