By now, you’ve definitely heard of Apple’s new processor, the A7 64-bit chip that powers the new Apple flagship smartphone, as well as the upcoming iPad Air and Retina display iPad Mini. But besides that processor, lies another chip, the M7 Co-Processor and its sole purpose is for motion. The chip is designed to interpret any movement of the device and accurately relay it to the user via apps that can take advantage of it.
If you’ve paid that much for a brand new Apple iPhone 5s, then you’d expect some apps that can take advantage of all that horsepower. While apps that will fully use the 64-bit chip are in the works, there are some apps that will benefit from the M7 motion chip. Primarily, these are sport apps, as you’d expect, but we’re confident to see developers come up with lots of other interesting uses for the M7.
The role of the M7 motion co-processor
If you don’t know what the Apple M7 is, it’s understandable, as both Apple and reporters were more focused on the powerful A7 64-bit processor that does much of the work. The M7 is a co-processor for the A7, and what it basically does is it measures the position of the device at all times. Motion tracking calculations are done solely by this co-processor, therefore freeing up the main chip. The M7 gathers data from the device’s sensors, such as the gyroscope, accelerometer or compass, and processes it.
The M7 doesn’t eat up much power, therefore it can run all the time and not put a strain on the battery of the iPhone 5s. The chip is active in sleep mode, and once the device is taken out of this mode, it will feed all the gathered information to the appropriate app. Also, this allows apps that use motion tracking to provide users with the most accurate data possible, and all this, at blazing fast speed. So, for now, it’s no surprise that sport apps are the ones that take full advantage of the iPhone 5s’ M7 co-processor.
All of this is done without the use of the A7 processor, which consumes more power, and so, it is capable of knowing when a user is, for instance driving or walking, without having to wake up the phone. If you’re in to fitness and all that, then you are probably aware of the Fitbit products. Well, the bottom line for the Apple M7 Chip is this: the M7 co-processor is a Fitbit in your iPhone.
Which apps can take advantage of Apple’s M7 motion chip
Although Apple didn’t put the emphasis on the M7 chip, but rather threw it in the shadow of the A7 processor, there is a lot of potential for this little guy, and anxious developers in the health and fitness market really jumped on the occasion and updated their apps to make them M7-friendly and tap in to this resource.
Strava Run (Free) – Strava is a well known fitness app that has now been updated to take advantage of Apple’s M7 co-processor. The app allows users to track their runs and keep detailed records of distance and other information. Also, thanks to the capabilities of the M7 chip, the app can gather data even when the phone is in sleep mode.
WeatherRun ($1.99) – With the newest version of WeatherRun, users will have at their disposal a step counter that uses the M7 co-processor to gain data about their whereabouts and accurately track each of their steps. The app also keeps records of speed, distance and time, as well as other relevant information.
Pedometer++ (Free) – Pedometer++ is a very simple app that counts all the steps a user makes. Thanks to the integration with the M7 co-processor, the app is able to very accurately and pretty fast, show how many steps you’ve taken. The UI of the app is basic, but still classy, and the fact that it works in real time allows you to view on the spot how much you’ve walked.
ARGUS ($1.99) – After Apple introduced the iPhone 5S with its M7 motion co-processor, the developers of ARGUS, Azumio, started working on an update that will allow the app to use the new chip. The latest iteration of the app introduces a new UI as well as passive step counter and other features that use the M7 chip.
M7 Pedometer – Steps (Free) – If you’re interested in a simple app that can count your steps, then the accurately named M7 Pedometer will be of use. The app has a clean and simple interface that shows users how many steps they have made in a particular day, in total or they can see a graph view for better interpretation. The app uses the M7 chip to gather all the data of the user’s movements.
StepTracker (Free) – Very similar to M7 Pedometer is StepTracker, which also uses the iPhone 5S’ M7 motion co-processor to gather data on the user’s movements and give them a real time view of all the steps they have made. Also, the app allows users to see a graph of their activity, so they compare their active days with the “I-don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed” days.
Burning Meter Pro ($4.99) – While the app is pretty new, and it doesn’t have rating yet (at the time of this post), the developers have slapped a steep price on it and they claim to help users lose weight. Even though it seems like false advertising, the app still uses Apple’s M7 chip for tracking your steps.
Fitly (Free) – If you find you need to set a goal for your daily walk, then using Fitly might do the trick. It allows users to set a number of steps they want to make in, let’s say, a week, and just chuck the phone in their pocket and let the M7 chip collect the data while the phone is in sleep mode. This allows them to keep their daily routine and still add steps to their app.
Nike+ Move (Free) – At the keynote, we were told that Nike is hard at work developing an app that will be able to take advantage of Apple’s M7 motion co-processor. While the app is not available at the time of this writing, it will be available starting from the 6th of November.