This week, a new GPS running app hit the App Store. Nike + GPS. Although a big Runkeeper fan, I downloaded the app to my iPhone to give it a try. (I have downloaded almost all running apps over the last 18 months).
Prior to the app’s arrival, Nike + required a Nike foot pod to be purchased which interacted with various Apple devices. For purchasers of that foot pod with iPhones (running iOS 4 and above), that device is no longer required. Nor is the wrist worn ‘watch’. Nike + GPS doesn’t interface with either and also is a separate app from the original Nike + app.
First impressions are that Nike + GPS has a nice clean, easy to use UI but lacks many of the features runners are demanding from their running apps.
What I like about Nike + GPS:
– simple UI
– motivational messages
– pace indication on map
– power song
– it’s cheap (but free would have been better)
However, here are the reasons why I won’t be running with Nike + GPS (or any other running app) and will continue to run with Runkeeper Pro:
– Nike’s power song feature is good but relies on users having app open on screen to select it. When running, I have my iPhone locked and don’t want to fiddle with the screen.
Nike’s pace indication on the map is useful but I prefer looking at speed/elevation information post run in the Runkeeper.com environment.
– Runkeeper Pro provides training workouts which I use in most training sessions. Training workout support has been neglected in v1 of Nike’s app
– Runkeeper Pro allows users to set a target pace and provides an indication of whether you’re ahead or behind pace. Nike + GPS doesn’t provide this feature.
– Runkeeper allows me to track lots of different types of activities and not just running.
– Runkeeper allows shuffling of playlists. Nike’s app doesn’t.
– Rarely used by myself but useful to many non-runners using the app, Runkeeper pro has in-app camera feature.
– Runkeeper has been providing GPS-enabled run tracking apps since GPS became available on the iPhone and have evolved their product over many updates by listening and reacting to user feedback. Runkeeper has a user-base of over 2 million of whom over 50% still actively use the app. They interact with these users continuously via both one-to-one an one-to-many dialogue via Facebook, Twitter (@runkeeper) and their support website (http://support.runkeeper.com).
Although I can’t be definite, I’m sure that Nike won’t be as reactive to user feedback and feature requests.
As detailed in previous posts, Runkeeper isn’t perfect and it’s true that other apps provide some of the features I crave.
However, although I feel Nike + GPS might fit the requirements of many who want a simple app to accompany them whilst running, many others will find that it’s got a nice paint job but there’s not much under the bonnet. Even with Runkeeper’s few missing features, it still includes the features that make it invaluable to me (training workouts, target pace etc).
One other benefit of Runkeeper is that their app is available for Android as well as iPhone devices.
Of course, the side effect of Nike’s arrival is that some iPhone users will now be aware that there are running apps available. This is great news for app developers such as Runkeeper who will get lots of app comparison PR.