Apple takes on Peloton with new Fitness+ service

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With Apple Fitness+ you can workout in front of your TV Jane Fonda-style
With Apple Fitness+, you can work out in front of your TV, Jane Fonda-style.
Photo: Apple

Apple took its fitness offering to the next level Tuesday with a new addition to its stable of subscription services: Apple Fitness+.

Integrating with Apple Watch and featuring exclusive workout videos from a team of “world-class” trainers, this upcoming service is designed to provide a new way to log workouts and close your Activity rings.

Apple Fitness+ offers a workout for everyone

There’s something for everyone in Apple Fitness+, with 10 different workout types including yoga, strength training and treadmills. Apple promises new workouts every week, and there will be Absolute Beginner workouts for those new to training.

You don’t need any special equipment for most of the workouts, apart from a pair of dumbbells, (plus your Apple Watch, obviously!).

To begin a workout, you just pick your favorite trainer, workout duration and music (via specially curated Apple Music playlists). You can follow along on the big screen with Apple TV, or on your iPad or iPhone. Key fitness metrics are displayed on-screen in real time, including calories, heart rate and an intriguing new “Burn Bar” that indicates workout intensity.

Apple Fitness+ will launch “before the end of 2020,” the company said. At first, it will be available in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Apple’s getting competitive with its fitness offering

With the new service, Apple enters an already-crowded sector with many big players. Peloton, one of the leaders, recently announced Apple Watch GymKit support for its exercise bike.

There are also several third-party Apple TV apps that Cupertino will be attempting to Sherlock with this service, including Centr by Chris Hemsworth, Adidas Training and Nike Training Club.

It’s intriguing to see Apple finally competing directly with Nike. The two companies haven’t (yet) fallen out over it, though. The joint-branded Apple Watch Nike just received an update. And Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director of fitness for health, who used to work for Nike, wore a Nike hoodie Tuesday as he announced the new service.

Will you be subscribing to Apple's new Fitness+ service?
Will you be subscribing to Apple’s new Fitness+ service?
Photo: Apple

Will this be another Apple News+?

Fitness+ feels like a logical next step for Apple. I even predicted they’d launch this service back in June, although I called it Health+.

At $9.99 a month, or $79.99 a year, it isn’t cheap. Especially when you can get plenty of free workout videos on YouTube. But the three months bundled free with every new Apple Watch might help coax people onto the service.

Like Apple News+, Fitness+ is included in the new Apple One service bundle — but only for Premier subscribers. It’s not included in Individual or Family plans. That might suggest Apple sees this as a more niche product.

Personally, I’m very excited to see Apple entering this territory. Up until now, its fitness offering has been limited. It focused on mostly cardio workouts without offering much for strength and flexibility. With Apple Fitness+, it looks like Cupertino is finally giving us a complete, effective workout solution.