At Apple’s annual product showcase this year, the tech behemoth unveiled a new service that long-time Apple Watch-wearing fitness junkies have long desired.
Apple Fitness+ is Apple’s stab at the digital fitness streaming sector of the wellness and fitness industries, and although it’s not available yet (but you can sign up to get notified of the launch), it seems as if Apple did a pretty phenomenal job for the first go-around.
Ahead, learn the ins and outs about Apple Fitness+, from pricing and bundles to how the new service compares to industry standards like Peloton and Fitbit Premium — and fellow newcomer Amazon Halo. Or, use the information to help you decide if you need or want to pull the trigger on an Apple Watch.
What Is Apple Fitness+ and How Does It Work?
Apple Fitness+ is the very first native fitness app for Apple Watch. Before, fitness enthusiasts with Apple Watches had to choose a third-party fitness app that syncs with Apple Watch in order to track their fitness. When Fitness+ comes out later this year, Apple Watch wearers will be able to enjoy trainer-led workouts and automatic syncing right from their wrists.
What’s Included in Apple Fitness+?
The new fitness app includes just about anything you might think of wanting or needing in a digital fitness service — it certainly includes enough to compete with the other major players out there from Peloton Digital to iFit:
- Audio and visually guided workout classes
- Heart rate monitoring
- Calories burned tracking
- Plenty of trainers to choose from
- Specialized recommendations for workout classes and trainers
- Downloadable playlists from workout classes (sans trainer audio)
- Integration with other Apple services including Apple Music
As for types of workouts, it looks like Apple Fitness+ has it all. The new service will offer treadmill walking and running classes, outdoor walking and running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), dance, rowing, yoga, cycling, strength training, core training and even mindful cooldowns to complete after any workout.
There’s no arguing the fact that this is a strong offering, and combined with the seamless integration into everything else Apple, watchOS wearers might ditch their prior favorite streaming apps.
How to Get Apple Fitness+
The new fitness streaming service comes out “in late 2020” according to Apple’s press release and website. This is rather vague, but Apple isn’t always the most explicit when it comes to new products and services.
You can sign up to get notified when the service becomes available. Once you get it, you’ll be able to find Apple Fitness+ inside the Fitness app on your Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone and Apple TV.
How Much Does Apple Fitness+ Cost?
Alone, Apple Fitness+ costs $9.99 per month, so it competes with other fitness streaming services in terms of price point. Slick Tip: Save by paying for the whole year. A yearly subscription costs $79.99 (compared to $119.88 for the year with a monthly subscription).
Current Apple Watch owners will get one month of Apple Fitness+ for free while people who buy a new Apple Watch will get three months on the house.
With the new Apple One, Apple’s way of bundling its services, you can get Apple Fitness+ alongside other Apple services for discounted prices. Apple One offers three different bundles — individual, family and premier — but only the premier bundle includes Apple Fitness+. According to the Apple website, “Apple One bundles up to six amazing Apple services into one easy subscription,” and the great news is you can try it for free.
I personally think this is Apple’s way of getting more users to sign up for Apple News+ and Apple Arcade. At just $29.95 per month and allowing up to five members, the premier bundle might be worth the price even if you only use half of the services on a regular basis.
Apple Fitness+ vs. Other Fitness Streaming Services
Apple is a little late to the digital fitness game. People have been complaining about the lack of a native fitness app for years (just as people complained about the strange lack of native sleep tracking, which Apple just recently remedied in August with watchOS 7).
That lateness might’ve given Apple a competitive edge, however, because it was able to see what the big players were up to. Here’s how Apple Fitness+ compares to five big fitness streaming services already available.
Apple Fitness+ vs. Nike Training Club
Nike Training Club is one of the oldest fitness streaming apps in the game. Though it’s been around for a long time, Nike keeps improving the app with new content, support and integrations.
Cost comparison: Nike Training Club is completely free. There used to be a premium option for $9.99 per month, but Nike made the entirety of the app and content free forever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the app, you can access nearly 200 different workouts in a variety of formats (video, audio and written), nicely categorized into categories like “Big Workouts for Small Spaces” and “Boost Your Mood.”
Integrations and compatibility: Nike Training Club is available on iOS (including Apple Watch) and Android devices.
Apple Fitness+ vs. Fitbit Premium
Fitbit Premium is a newer addition to Fitbit’s offerings. Before introducing premium, getting a Fitbit and downloading the app was all you had to do for access to great stats. Now, the basic version of the app is somewhat limited, so the premium version is worth considering for Fitbit wearers.
Cost comparison: Fitbit Premium costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year (the same as Fitness+). With the premium subscription, you get virtually unlimited workouts, trainer support, advanced sleep tracking and more metrics.
Integrations and compatibility: Fitbit Premium only works with a Fitbit watch (no crossover into other wearables), but you can download the Fitbit app on iOS or Android phones and tablets.
Apple Fitness+ vs. Amazon Halo
Amazon Halo is a newcomer to the digital fitness space and the wearable space. The screen-less activity tracker from Amazon is currently available through early access only, and it’s already raised some questions about a couple of interesting features.
Cost comparison: Amazon Halo costs $3.99 per month. Your subscription includes a variety of workout classes, body composition analysis, sleep and activity tracking and voice tone analysis. You get six months free with the purchase of the activity tracker hardware.
Integrations and compatibility: Amazon stuck with all things Amazon with the Halo. There’s no Apple Health or Google Fit integration, which may turn off some people who already use those other services. However, Amazon did collaborate with several popular apps to create “Labs” within the Halo app — Lifesum, SWEAT and Headspace have modules within the app, just to name a few.
Apple Fitness+ vs. iFit
iFit is unique in that it’s intended to work with gym equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and rowers. However, the app also includes strength workouts, circuit classes and other sessions that don’t require equipment.
Cost comparison: An iFit membership costs $15/mo for an individual, but you can often score three to six months free with the purchase of exercise hardware such as a stationary bike or treadmill. Alternatively, iFit’s partner companies (like NordicTrack and Pro-Form) often run sales where you can get a piece of exercise equipment for free with a three-year iFit membership.
Integrations and compatibility: The iFit app is compatible with gym equipment from ProForm, NordicTrack and Freemotion, and you can get the app on iOS and Android devices.
Apple Fitness+ vs. Peloton Digital
Peloton has seemed to acknowledge that Apple might be coming for some of its member base. After the announcement of Apple Fitness+ on September 15, Peloton tweeted: “Friendly competition is in our DNA. Welcome to the world of digital fitness, Apple.”
Cost comparison: Peloton Digital costs $12.99 per month. You can use the Peloton Digital app with or without an actual Peloton Bike or Tread — the app has a variety of strength and circuit training, outdoor running, stretching and cardio boot camp, as well as yoga and mindfulness classes.
Integrations and compatibility: You don’t need any hardware or watch to use Peloton Digital, which is a plus, but you can of course use it with the Peloton Bike and Peloton Tread. The Peloton app is available on iOs, Android, Roku and Amazon streaming devices, as well as on watchOS with the Peloton Apple Watch app. When you’re done working out, you can also save your data to the Apple Health app on your iPhone.
The Bottom Line
Apple Fitness+ has a robust offering of fitness classes, professional trainers and general health and wellness guidance. The natural integrations with other Apple products make it an easy switch for people who have iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. The $9.99 price point is in line with most competitors and even better than some others, and it can become even more cost-effective with Apple One bundles.
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