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Leave your iPhone at home when you run; Apple Watch will play music without it

We thought it was odd that Apple didn’t say a thing about its Apple Watch playing music. Apple did, on the other hand, do a fair amount of talking about how the Apple Watch and iPhone would have to work together to pull off many of its functions. That being the case, many, like ourselves, were operating under the assumption that users would have to carry on with playing music from their phone as they always have, albeit with the new convenience of playback control on the wrist. It turns out, that assumption was wrong. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Tim Cook disclosed that it would indeed be possible to play music directly from the Apple Watch, without the need for an iPhone.

For fitness buffs, this is pretty great news. Despite becoming lighter and thinner with each new version, the iPhone (and most other smartphones) remains larger than most people really want to tote around during a run or workout, armband or no. Now, along with all its health-related sensors and accompanying fitness apps, the Apple Watch’s ability to play music wirelessly via Bluetooth makes for a compelling product, especially for those with an active lifestyle.

Cook didn’t mention how much storage space the Apple Watch will make available for music, or whether the user will be able to allocate space for apps or music as they please, but it is clear that hardwired headphones will not be an option. Users will need to invest in a pair of Bluetooth-enabled headphones to listen. It’s hard not to notice that poses a convenient opportunity for Apple, which would be only too happy to sell a pair of Beats Bluetooth headphones along with the Apple Watch.

This news could have ripples throughout other industries as well. Now that Apple has set a new bar for fitness wearables, we can probably expect to see more with music playback capabilities, and that means headphone makers will need to burn the midnight oil developing Bluetooth-capable earbuds that aren’t so clunky and uncomfortable. Presently, few companies have cracked that code, with Jabra standing as one notable exception with its recently announced Sports Pulse Wireless earbuds.

In any case, its probably safe to say the gym will never look the same once the Apple Watch arrives.