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Do the M7 Coprocessor's Capabilities Have to Stop at Fitness Apps?

Apple's recent event revealed the iPhone 5S, complete with space gray, silver, or gold color schemes, new camera features, and a fingerprint sensor. It also highlighted the new M7 motion coprocessor, designed to gather motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.

Fitness apps that would normally fall on the A7 chip will now rely on the M7, a more efficient alternative that draws less battery. With a new set of CoreMotion APIs, developers can also contribute a variety of fitness and motion tracking apps for iOS 7.

To kick things off, Nike provided an introduction, with the Nike+ Move tracking app which will track your daily activity and make it easy to compete with friends via Game Center.

As noted on Apple's feature page: "M7 knows when you’re walking, running, or even driving. For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you’re in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5S won’t ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass by. And if your phone hasn’t moved for a while, like when you’re asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery."

This not only leaves the door open for additional fitness features, but also implies some improvements to navigation. According to 9to5mac, the M7 will incorporate several new mapping and location functions.

Sources claim Apple is also working on a tool to locate your parked car by registering the car's location. Public transit directions and indoor mapping features were listed as possible features as well. Recent acquisitions of transit apps Embark and HopStop, and the indoor mapping startup WiFi Slam will presumably be featured in future updates for iOS.

Techcrunch's Darrell Etherington speculates that we may even start seeing gesture-controlled games or apps that offer different modes for transit versus walking. While it isn't entirely clear what the M7 is capable of just yet, there may be room for a variety of different features that go beyond navigation and fitness tracking.

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Jordan Joynt's picture
Jordan Joynt is a digital producer and freelance technology writer. He covers the latest apps, mobile games, and accessories for Apple’s mobile products. You can see some of his articles on www.jordanjoynt.com.