What can developers do with that M7 co-processor in the Apple iPhone 5s? Save you some battery life, for starters. That’s what the newest version of Strava Run, a free run tracking app in the iTunes App Store, promises. Strava says it’s the first fitness app to use the new M7 chip, which can directly read sensors in the iPhone 5s and use less power to do so.
How do you get more battery life in the new Strava Run app? By tapping the M7 chip, Strava Run can automatically pause the tracking of your run. Other apps already do this, but they rely on the GPS module to pause and restart the tracking. Since the GPS radio stays on, that takes more power than using the M7 which can read the phone’s accelerometer, for example.
As a result, Strava Run doesn’t just pause run tracking; it actually turns off the GPS automatically when you stop running. Start moving again and the app will start up the GPS again and pick up where it left off.
I don’t know if Strava’s claim that it’s the first to use the M7 is true; for that I’d have to wade through dozens of apps. I did check in with the folks at RunKeeper — the app I personally use for my run training — and they haven’t yet integrated the M7 into their app.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which app was first though; what matters is what app developers can start to do with the M7 and what benefits the new chip brings end users. Improved app efficiency is just the beginning of this race to do more with lower-powered chips.