Apple’s Fitness+ is a No-Brainer for Watch Owners

No Watch, no Fitness+

Key Takeaways

  • Apple’s Fitness+ is launching December 14 and costs $9.99 a month.
  • The service has a cheaper option to rivals like Peloton that require special equipment.
  • You’ll need an Apple Watch and an iPhone to use Fitness+ which will allow you to track your workout metrics.
Apple Fitness+ running on a TV, iPad, and iPhone, with an Apple Watch tracking the activity
Apple

Apple’s new Fitness+ service arrives next week, and observers say it beats many rival fitness options on cost and convenience. 

When it launches on December 14, the Apple Watch-based service couldn’t be landing at a better time, as many of us are coping with Quarantine 15 and the temptations of the holiday season. It will have 10 different categories of workouts, and at $9.99 a month (or $79.99 per year) it could be a bargain for those who’ve been kicked out of their gyms due to the coronavirus pandemic. But how does it stack up against the competition?

"When people were looking for a great way to lose weight with interactive videos and streaming, they typically went for Peloton," said Tommy Pederson, CEO of the bodybuilding site Vekhayn. "Apple has just launched a new service that, in my opinion, is going to destroy Peloton."

"[And] most people using Apple Fitness will already have an Apple Watch. And if they don't, they will just buy one."

Appleheads Only Need Apply

Fitness+ offers a lot for those who’ve already bought into the Apple ecosystem. It’s also best for those who are energized by metrics as the guided workouts can be viewed on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV while using an Apple Watch for tracking your progress. The service will start with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), strength, yoga, dance, core, cycling, treadmill (for both running and walking), rowing, and "mindful cooldown."

"One advantage of this new service is it has a recommendation engine that leverages data, including previous Fitness+ courses taken by a user," Michael Miller, CEO of VPN Online, said in an email interview. Miller also explained that Fitness+ can use Apple Watch Workout App data and other third-party app information from Apple Health to recommend new workouts, exercise routines, and even new trainers.

Apple Fitness+ on iPhone with an Apple Watch tracking heart rate and calories burned
Apple

Keep in mind that an Apple Watch is required to use the service and an iPhone to pair it. All the workouts can be viewed on an Apple TV or iPad, which can be a boon to those who already own a Watch.

"A big problem with programs like Peloton or other similar services is that you usually have to go out and buy a separate heart rate tracker," Pederson said. "But most people using Apple Fitness will already have an Apple Watch. And if they don't, they will just buy one."

No Extra Gear Required

Unlike Peloton, Apple says "many Fitness Plus workouts require no equipment at all or just a set of dumbbells," while the equipment-based cycling, treadmill, and rowing workouts can be used with most bikes, treadmills, or rowing machines that users already have.

The fitness bike company Peloton has gained a vast array of loyal followers, but compared to Fitness+, it’s a whole other level of investment. The bike alone starts at $1,895 including delivery, plus a $39-per-month "All-Access" membership (or a more limited $12.99-per-month "Digital" membership). On the other hand, for that price you’re getting top-level equipment and it might be worth the cost "if you’re accustomed to handing over lots of money to spin studios week in and week out and want something more convenient at home," claims The New York Times.

There’s also the $1995 Tempo, a tablet+workout equipment combo that stows neatly in a piece of furniture that would look great in anyone’s living room. The Tempo presents real-time feedback on your progress and claims to be powered by artificial intelligence. 

"Apple has just launched a new service that, in my opinion, is going to destroy Peloton."

A better comparison to Fitness+, however, might be Fitbit Premium, a service with guided workouts that sync with the ubiquitous fitness trackers. The price is the same as Apple’s service at $9.99 a month, or $79.99 a year, and provides daily workouts designed in-house, as well as others from well-known fitness brands like Daily Burn.

For Apple fans, there’s a lot to like with the convenience and integration that Fitness+ has. I’m a fitness class skeptic and longtime ridiculer of all things Peloton, but I’m planning to give Fitness+ a spin next week.

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