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New Jawbone Up app works without Jawbone Up band

No fitness band? No problem. Jawbone's latest app links with Apple's Health to help you create and manage goals.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

A fitness band without the band? That's the lofty goal of Jawbone's new Up app, which tracks your diet, activity, and sleep, all without the need for additional hardware.

Well, you need a smartphone, of course. Specifically, you need an iPhone (the Android version of the app still requires the Up wristband), preferably an iPhone 5 or later. And, ideally, an iPhone 5S, 6 or 6 Plus.

That's because Up by Jawbone links with Apple's Health app, and that app can track your steps -- but only if you have a 5S or later. (Confession: I didn't know my iPhone 6 was tracking my steps until I fired up Up and saw that it had a week's worth of step stats. Cool.)

Indeed, the new Up app effectively lets the iPhone do the heavy lifting, tracking-wise, while still giving you an overview of your activity, a place to log your food intake and sleep hours and team-powered encouragement/competition.

What's more, it can integrate with a large number of other apps and devices, everything from MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper to IFTTT and the Prep Pad smart scale. There's at least one bug, though: After I linked a couple apps, Up would no longer show any results in its App Gallery.

Even so, the app is worth a try. For one thing, it's free. And it offers the same attractive layout, simplified goal-management, and, after some time, health and fitness tips as its fitness band-tied counterpart. Speaking of which, anyone who owns an Up or Up24 band will need to stick with the original, as the new version, curiously, doesn't support it.

If you've had a chance to try the app, either with or without an Up band, hit the comments and share your thoughts.

In the meantime, in case you missed it, Pebble announced today a new Jawbone app for its smartwatches, which allows them to perform background step-tracking.