Apple’s WatchOS 4.1 update adds phone-less music streaming, GymKit

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Got an Apple Watch? Apple just released WatchOS 4.1 for all users today, and the spotlight feature is support for GymKit. It enables the Apple Watch to pair with supported gym equipment, so you can track more accurate fitness data, according to 9to5Mac.

GymKit allows two-way data sharing between gym equipment and the Apple Watch, enabling Apple to better estimate distance and energy burn metrics. Currently, LifeFitness, Cybex, Star Tac, StairMaster, Matrix, and TechnoGym have partnered with Apple to support GymKit, but more gyms and hardware manufacturers are expected to be announced in the near future.

WatchOS 4.1 also brings access to the iCloud Music Library. The Apple Watch was previously limited to synced playlists from the iPhone over Wi-FI, but the latest update allows Apple Music subscribers access to their entire library. Watch Series 3 with LTE users have the added benefit of being able to stream music over cellular.  To make it even easier to find your favorite music on the Apple Watch, the WatchOS 4.1 update now allows you to use Siri to search for songs, playlists and albums.

There’s also a new app included with the update: Radio. The app lets you stream Apple’s own Beats 1 radio station, in addition to NPR, ESPN and a few other stations. While access to Beats 1 is free, other stations require an Apple Music subscription.  Streaming via Wi-Fi or LTE is also available for the Radio app.

One welcome update for many Apple Watch Series 3 LTE users is the addition of a Wi-Fi toggle button in the Control Panel.  The Wi-Fi toggle allows users to default to LTE service when they’re in an area with patchy Wi-Fi service.  While Apple already released a WatchOS update to address issues with the Apple Watch becoming stuck on public Wi-Fi networks, the Wi-Fi toggle button gives Watch Series 3 LTE users the option to rely solely on cellular service even when their phone is on a Wi-Fi network.