Nike has launched a major update to its Nike+ Running app, rebranding it as the Nike+Run Club. The main features the company is adding include personal coaching, new social features, and an upgrade to the Apple Watch app that allows runners to leave their phone at home.
The Beaverton, Oregon-based sports giant has been working on revamping its running app for a while, according to CEO Mark Parker who mentioned it on the company's fourth quarter earnings call at the end of June.
"This quarter the new Nike+ app is in beta testing with a select audience as we prepare for the full launch later this summer," he said at the time. "So far we've received very positive feedback on its simplicity and tailored features. We are excited about the enormous potential for Nike+ to unite our digital platform and deliver personalized performance at tremendous scale through products, coaching and experiences. The investments we make in mobile and online experiences are paying off, with our Nike.com business growing 46 percent in fiscal year 2016."
The personalized coaching will be available to runners in three programs geared at different kinds of runners: “Get Started,” “Get More Fit” and “Get Race Ready.” The programs schedule runs in advance, but adapt to the user's schedules if their plans change. Then, during the run, users can get recorded audio coaching from celebrity athletes like sprinter Michael Johnson.
Social features include live sessions where users of the app around the world can all work out at once and a hashtag feature that serves as a social network of sorts for runners.
"Whether on trail, track or road, hashtagging a run instantly connects Nike+ members around the world to a global leaderboard and collection of the photos shared with that hash-tag," the company explains in a release about the new app. "Stickers showcase runners’ route maps, stats and elevation gain, allowing them to customize their photo — they can also further layer the photo with exclusive emoji-like stickers to create a truly unique running story."
Perhaps the most interesting new feature, though, is that the Nike+ Apple Watch can now be used without the phone. While the company says this is due to the Apple Watch's built-in accelerometer, it also bolsters rumors (via 9to5 Mac) that the forthcoming updated Apple Watch will have built-in GPS, which would allow Watch-only runners to leave their phones at home with no loss of features.