Fitness + is a new subscription-based fitness platform from Apple – designed to integrate Apple Watch health tracking features with on-demand exercise videos, to deliver custom workouts that measure your training intensity.
The service is an ambitious launch – even by Apple standards – and promises to deliver over 20 new workout videos every week.
Users can select workouts – cycling, treadmill, rowing, HIIT, strength, yoga, dance, core exercises, and calming the mind – on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, and their participation will automatically start and be tracked via Apple Watch
Apple intentionally used a varied mix of 21 smiling coaches, ranging in age from 20 to 60 years and athletic backgrounds ranging from yoga, to a surfer from Melbourne, to former rowing world champion, and 18 others in between.
“We really wanted to find coaches who also shared Apple’s values and creativity, who were definitely great at providing the right fitness. But they had a real heart for beginners as well.” Jay Blahnik, Senior Fitness Manager for Health Technologies at Apple, said, “That was very important to us. “.
This is Good Idea. And one was sold out completely as a concept, although I haven’t had the opportunity to try the service yet.
However, with Covid-19 forcing people to lockdown at home, especially in America and Europe, and forcing gyms to close their doors to members, the timing of Apple’s fitness service raises questions about motivation.
Pessimists may suggest Apple Fitness + is an attempt to disrupt a US $ 100 billion industry, and companies like Les Mills gyms and / or a local freelance yoga teacher should be alarmed.
But Blahnik insists that is not the case. Noting that if it was a service designed to take advantage of the opportunity presented by Covid and to keep people out of gyms, then Fitness + would not have “rowers, bicycles, and treadmills” as essential components of the exercise.
Instead, he said his true goal and the goal of Apple was more motivating by helping people. “What we realized at the beginning of the build [Apple] She has seen that from the start, one of her core principles has been to help people live a better day by being more active.
“We find different things that motivate different people. But the one thing we hear constantly is that regardless of whether you are an advanced or a beginner, the exercise is difficult. We have believed for some time that if we can create a service directly related to the Apple Watch, we can help a lot of people in facilitating the work.
“We see this as just part of a very large roadmap to continue building fun fitness experiences. Whether it’s a simple message to stand because you’ve been sitting so long all the way to your first 30-minute session with the world champion paddling at home.”
Blahnik also suggested that Apple Fitness + was a great entry point for a lot of people. “They can actually graduate and feel that they understand what yoga is, feel that they understand what a walk or run might be like, and not feel very nervous about going to a health club.”
When you ignore the financial reasons for Apple’s entry into the market, it is impossible to argue with that logic. Not everyone will feel comfortable joining a course, or the F45 class, with dozens of other people. Working out from inside your garage, living room, or garden will attract a lot of people who are not currently being served by the fitness industry.
From a personal perspective, I look forward to trying yoga for the first time with Fitness +. It’s an activity I’ve wanted to try for a while, but I’m not going to feel comfortable sticking to a 60-minute yoga class for fear of ruining the experience for others, or, more realistically, making myself foolish because of my inflexibility and short attention span.
So far, so good. The only major hurdle I see facing Fitness + is the hardware requirements. It’s kind of unique in this respect. Other successful subscription services – Spotify, Netflix, and even Les Mills On Demand – allow customers to access the product for several different devices and operating systems. Fitness + requires its users to own an Apple Watch. Not just an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.
I put this on Blahnik and he agrees “If someone doesn’t have an interest in the watch, but they have an interest in a workout, it’s probably a little funny.
“But, I think for us, the area of expertise we have in the fitness space is related to the hour. This is the area we know best.
“Our fitness expertise really revolves around what we put into the watch. And we felt the first place to drive would be with people who have a watch or want a watch because we know how to make the watch come to life.
“I think we are committed to making this a great experience for watch users and we’ll see if it makes sense to have this experience without the watch or not.”
One part of the fitness industry that technology hasn’t been able to fix (yet) is nutrition. Monitoring the wearer’s heart rate while they participate in an exercise class is a smart innovation, as it allows the user to verify that their body is in the right training zone to achieve their goals. In reality, training is only half the battle. If that. As the saying goes: You cannot outgrow a bad diet.
Planck agrees, saying, “We see them as important, but they’re very separate.” “There is a lot of research showing that activity, regardless of your weight, still represents an incredible health benefit.
“There are studies that show that people who are obese but still active can live five years longer than people who do not.
“So our feeling about it is being active at whatever level you can be, whether it’s a ten-minute workout or a 45-minute workout, it contributes to your health and fitness.”
What happened next was unexpected. I’ve been working with Apple and talking to their representatives for several years, and during that time, I’ve never received a clear signal as provided by Jay Blahnik regarding what Apple could do next in terms of nutrition.
“Obviously, if someone is worried about being a certain size, or looking a certain way, you really can’t really work your way up to your dream body. This has a lot to do with diet, maybe more than anyone understands. And we never really ventured into this nutrition. Basic yet. ”
“People have asked that before. We don’t have any ads to make it right. But I say overall, we definitely think full space of health is interesting to us. So I’m not going to count anyone out.”
Apple Fitness + is available from December 15 for NZ $ 16.99 per month, or NZ $ 139.99 per year, and can be shared with up to six family members via Family Sharing.