Walking with Dolly – TechCrunch

More walks Often a lonely experience. As far as the COVID-19 era is concerned, it’s probably a bug rather than a feature. It’s a way to escape the shutdown limits of some glorious moments, get some air, and look back, for better or for worse, the days gone by or the days coming.

But, like many things these days, it can be isolated.

For me, a long weekend walk was a kind of lifesaver throughout this strange year. Two months after being completely on the sidelines of health issues (other than COVID), I started walking more weekly than ever before. At first it was a slow process. Frankly, I never left my one-bedroom apartment in April and May, so it was physically painful to walk around the blocks when it was finally comfortable to get out.

Recently, I walk every morning and regularly cross the bridge to Brooklyn and Manhattan. It was easily my main source of exercise until I started using Apple’s new Fitness + service several times a day. But in November, my Apple Watch activity bar replaced the more common gray with Fitness + yellow. However, although I decided to do indoor exercise a couple of times a day, I still start with a walk every day. Rain, snow, and sub-zero weather this weekend — skipping a day makes you feel like you’re breaking your promise.

My actual bar (I don’t know what happened in September — probably testing a competitor’s device)

This morning, Apple dropped the first five Time to Walk articles (episodes?). This feature is an attempt to extend the Fitness + experience beyond the reach of its well-known iOS app. A predominantly watch-based experience, this feature leverages many of Wearable’s existing features (and Apple’s growing software ecosystem) to provide a more customized multimedia experience than just listening to podcasts and music. To do.

Like Fitness +’s bold arrival (December) and watchOS hand-washing (September), Apple says the timing was like a happy coincidence. The company has been working on this feature long before the introduction of COVID-19.

“Everything up to the launch of Time to Walk and Fitness + was something we’ve been working on long before COVID,” Jay Blahnik, senior director of Fitness Technologies at the company, told TechCrunch. “From the beginning, I thought Fitness + was a welcome place for everyone. I wanted it to feel like a place for everyone, whether they’re new to fitness or very healthy.”

For many, when it comes to daily workouts, walks (or pushes for wheelchair users) are square. For me, it was much more comfortable to take a walk in the neighborhood. With limited space and no real exercise equipment to talk to other than kettlebells and yoga mats, getting closer to the gym experience at home seems like a fool’s errand.

April noticed that he was trying out some YouTube yoga classes that had limited effectiveness. Like most athletic attempts, it didn’t stick. I only walked every day. And for the first time in my life, COVID-19 discovered that I was walking unconsciously at a particular destination. The old cliché about traveling, not destination, is fine if you don’t mind being late for meetings all the time. But walking for itself can make a big difference in dynamics. I regularly talk to artists, writers and musicians for podcasts. Common feelings are familiar: you can’t just force creativity. But for those who insist on walking and running on a regular basis, it’s probably the surest way to start the process.

Time to Walk is Apple’s attempt to bottle some of its lightning bolts. That is, tracking the spinning celebrity cast as they walk where it makes sense to them. According to the company, they meet guests where they are and basically strive to guide them through the process. Of course, the ability to do so depends on the location given. In particular, there are all kinds of travel restrictions that have been in force since the beginning of last year.

Ultimately, Apple says the guest decides where to record. “Some guests said,’This is where I want to go,’” Blahnik says. “And some guests said,” No, I want to take my usual walk. ” For us, it’s not about Shawn Mendes in the Grand Canyon, but about where they want to go. Although sometimes limited by COVID, we were happy that many people liked to take their favorite walks. “

The first four guests (Mendez, Dolly Parton, Draymond Green, Uzoaduba) carry out the full range of approaches. “We think about the story and think about the diverse guests,” Blahnik says. We think about all the ways you want to have a conversation. But what was important to us was that the idea resonated with them. Going for a walk, having a nice conversation, or listening to something can give you a different perspective. “

Parton, who turned 75 earlier this month, recorded the session in the studio, in contrast to the other three names. She tells a handful of stories that revolve around her upbringing in Sevier County, Tennessee (pronounced “severe”). There is talk about the Christmas tree and about opening a literacy center with the help of his father (who struggled with his literacy).

She tells the story of her hometown when she built her statue somewhat trivially. “So I went home and said,’Daddy, did you know they had my statue? Do you know about the statue in the courthouse?” Explains Parton. “And Dad said,’Well, yeah, I heard about it.'” He said, “Well, to your fans there, you may be some kind of idol, but they. For pigeons, you are nothing more than another remote home. “”

According to Parton, her father visited the statue at night with a bucket of soap and water to remove the pigeon’s turmoil from her daughter’s portrait. Her segment culminated in something behind the music style segment, telling the story behind her own three songs, “Coat of Many Colors,” “Circle of Love,” and “9to5.” Explains. The latter is a bunch of real gems that explain the role her acrylic nails played in the process of songwriting and recording, contrasting her morning routine with co-stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.

Image credit: Apple

The story of Green is more symbolic of the rest. On a walk around Malibu, the Warriors power forward has some inspiration on and off the court, from being told he won’t be a star to when he tries to cheat on a school test and fails. Discuss the story. The story is intentionally personal. Aduba explains some of her own struggles to interrupt her acting while walking through the funny-named dog Fenwei Burke in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn.

Guests share images related to their stories and snapshots of walking locations. These images are delivered to the wrist with a tactile buzz. At the end of the journey, they share three handpicked songs that can be stored in Apple Music playlists. This is the same thing the company did with Fitness + workouts.

In the Time to Walk article, I’ve compared it to podcasting so far. This is not surprising given that it is an on-demand audio-first experience. According to Apple, the ability to download new releases directly to the Watch once a week has its own flavor.

“Podcasts are often hosted,” Blahnik distinguishes. “In our journey to build on this experience, we certainly considered whether there was a host walking with this person. What we were trying to create, we were trying to create. What was there was the intimacy of having one guest talk to you, which made you feel like you were taking a walk with them. The idea that it wasn’t happening in the studio (in almost all cases), they The idea of ​​walking in a place that inspires them. You’ll hear it at Draymond and Sean — at Sean he’s swelling the hill, and it’s a little nice because you’re together at that moment is.”

Walking time is not exactly raw. After all, this is an Apple product. The company certainly hasn’t thrown away the audio found here. However, the content seems to be more readily available than many of the works, despite the sophisticated intro and finally three songs packaged together. But for those looking for something from some of the names involved that feels a bit more personal than we’re used to, it’s a great pace change.

Your own mileage depends, among other things, on your interest in guests. However, there is always the possibility that someone who has never been, or has never heard of, will provide some unique information or interesting methods. This is one of the potential benefits of having Apple curate here. There are some interesting possibilities for the discovery. And even if you’re an artist you’re familiar with, there’s a good chance you’ll discover something new.

A 20-45 minute weekly audio supplement doesn’t make the actual gait so lonely, but it’s nice to feel someone riding, at least for a while.

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