Runkeeper’s new Apple Watch app enables iPhone-free fitness tracking

Runkeeper has updated its Apple Watch with native support for core features, meaning users can track their progress without having to take their iPhone along on a run.

The updated fitness tracker makes use of watchOS 2’s most important feature – the ability to store an app natively on the device rather than stream it from the phone.

As such, Runkeeper users can monitor pace, distance, duration and heart rate without the need to have their smartphone to hand.

Naturally, thanks to the Apple Watch’s criminal lack of GPS, runners won’t be able to keep track of their location or view progress on a map.

Instead of GPS, Runkeeper is relying on Apple’s HealthKit platform to harness distance and pace data through the M8 motion co-processor situated within the Apple Watch.

The company (via TechCrunch) is suggesting users continue to run with their iPhone the first few times in order to calibrate the standalone Watch app.

Related: Apple Watch 2 news

Despite the lack of GPS, the more complete app now offers plenty of other features to get excited about, including the ability to switch from running to walking to cycling directly from the watch face.

Runs can be paused via a Force Touch gesture or a swipe to the right, while there’s also a post-run music-analytics tool to provide such insight as which songs brought out the best performance.

The Runtastic firm, recently purchased by Adidas for $239m, says it’s also planning to introduce split-times, heart-rate zones and pace charts in a future update.

Meanwhile, if Apple decides to add GPS to the next-gen Apple Watch, as it surely will, then Runtastic will add mapping abilities into the mix too.