If you don’t like holding your iPhone in your hand while you run indoors on a treadmill, you’ll have to learn to like it if you’re getting an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. (Good luck hanging onto that iPhone 6 Plus during a run).
Runners and users of Nike+ know that, when they run outside, they use the Nike+ Running app which tracks their run via GPS, and when they run inside on the treadmill, they use their iPhone’s built-in Nike + iPod app in conjunction with the Nike+ Sensor in (or on the laces of) one of their running shoes. All of the information – distance, pace, duration, NikeFuel, etc. – is transmitted by both apps to the users’ Nike+ accounts.
Not anymore. Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus do not contain the ability to communicate with the Nike+ Sensor. Apple Store Online’s Nike + Sensor page iPhone compatibility list stops at iPhone 5s (even though, in the description text, the page still erroneously claims the sensor works with “iPhone 3GS or later.” It does not work with the latest. MacDailyNews tested an iPhone 5s running iOS 8.0.2 and the Nike + iPod app is available and works with the Nike+ Sensor as usual.
There is a discussion on Apple’s Support site about this issue from rather surprised owners of new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units that, in total, explain the issue. In a nutshell:
If you don’t like carrying your iPhone in your hand when running, how do iPhone 6/Plus owners use the shoe sensor without the iPhone? The answer is: They don’t. Treadmillers can no longer track their runs with their iPhones safely laid on the treadmill console via the Nike + iPod app which is no longer built-into the iPhone 6/Plus. Therefore, the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus must be on your person while running in order to track your runs via the Nike+ Running app in “Indoor Mode,” and as Nike’s support pages clearly state, users must:
Carry your mobile device in your hand, which will ensure that your motion is captured. If you carry your device in a pocket or armband, your motion may not be fully captured. If you place your device in the treadmill tray or cupholder, your motion will not be captured.
One user of Apple’s support bard relayed an email from Nike:
Currently, there are no plans to make Nike+ iPod available on the iPhone 6 or 6+. Regarding the Running Sensor, it of course can still be used with iPhones older than the 6 and 6+, as well as iPod Touches and iPod Nanos that feature the Nike+ iPod App. The Running App, which is available for the iPhone 6 and 6+, is designed to use a GPS signal when running outdoors, negating the need for a Running Sensor. When you run indoors with the Running App and disable the GPS feature, the app will rely solely on your iPhone’s built-in accelerometer. No sensors required.
So, it seems that, for now at least, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users must carry their now larger iPhones in their hands while running inside on a treadmill if they want accuracy. Otherwise, an iPhone armband, which many runners find to be even more irksome than holding the iPhone in their hands, will have to do. (We can’t wait to see iPhone 6 Pluses in armbands!)
Yes, you know where this goes: Apple Watch Sport, with its built-in accelerometer/pedometer, is likely to become even more interesting to millions of treadmill runners who, by the time Apple Watch ships, will be yearning to not have to carry their iPhones in their hands while running.
Was pushing people to Apple Watch the reason why Apple silently dropped Nike+ Sensor support in their new iPhone hardware?
Regardless of intent, the gap between iPhone 6/Plus and Apple Watch is like the gap between iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. It leaves users with a significant gap in functionality that they are forced to weather. Apple Watch is rumored to have slipped a bit from its originally intended release. Some say it was supposed to ship along with iPhone 6/Plus in time for Christmas. That would have made things a bit more palatable for treadmill runners who have now been left without an option other than carry their iPhones in their hands in order to get an accurate measure of their activity while running indoors.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews reader “Jupit3r” for the heads up.]