Apple Fitness Plus Review: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know

This week Apple launched their new Apple Fitness Plus (also written simply as Fitness+), which is their premium fitness subscription service with guided/coached workouts. It’s designed to compete with not just platforms like Peloton, but also real-world places like your gym. Fitness+ service costs $9/month, or $79/year – but more importantly, it requires an Apple Watch to activate (Series 3 or higher). The Apple Watch requirement also in turn requires an iPhone, though for workouts you can also use Apple TV or an iPad. Also, you need to be in an English speaking country that was or is currently part of the British Empire (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand).

I’ve been using it this week on roughly half a dozen workouts now to figure out what works, and what flops. I’ve taken workouts across a number of different sports and instructors as well, using both basic equipment (nothing but a yoga mat), as well as higher-end equipment, to see if it matters much.

The platform includes roughly 10 different workout types, and 21 different instructors. Now, before we dive into it – you’ll need to do one thing to get started: Be on at least iOS14.3, iPadOS 14.3, WatchOS 7.2, and/or tvOS 14.3 (or higher). That’s the version that adds in Apple Fitness Plus, and without it, it’s a no-go.

Apple Fitness Plus Basics:

Once all your devices are updated, it’s time to get cracking. You’ll load up the Apple ‘Fitness’ app, which is what Apple renamed the ‘Activity’ app to this past fall. The Fitness app normally stores all of your Apple Watch related activity/workouts, but now it’s grown a new tab down in the middle – Fitness+.

 

This new Fitness+ tab is where you’ll find all the classes to take. You won’t find your completed workouts here, that’s still over on the ‘Summary’ tab. Think of the Fitness+ tab as just where you can surf around, à la Netflix style, for classes to take. Along the top are the different workout types. Once you select one, it’ll filter to just those workouts. If there’s a checkbox over the workout, it means you’ve already taken it.

Back on the main Fitness+ page you’ll see what’s new this week:

And if you scroll down you’ll get a ‘For Beginners’ section that aims to get you up to speed with a series of shorter and more simplistic workouts.

Now, if you’ve got an iPad you can use that as well (as many of these screenshots are, so they fit better on the page than vertical ones). Interestingly, I see quirks in continuality between my iPhone and iPad on completed workouts. I suspect they’re using the Apple Watch as the middleman here to keep a cache of these, as it won’t register classes taken on my iPhone until *AFTER* the next class I complete on the iPad (probably since that’s when it connects and starts talking). Again, I’m not 100% sure on how this works, but I can definitely say it isn’t working smoothly if you use multiple devices.

Next, we’ll go ahead and pick a class to begin. Apple’s big marketing and PR push here is that you only need to decide four things to start a class, which they’ve instilled in a catchy repeatable mantra of: “Workout…Trainer…Time…Music”…[Go]. They even made an entire ad about it.

– Cycling
– Treadmill (running and walking)
– Rowing
– Yoga
– Dance
– Core
– Strength
– HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
– Cooldowns (specifically “Mindful cooldown”)

So we’ll start now with choosing Cycling (note below how that top left ‘Cycling with Tyrel’ doesn’t show as taken on the iPad, yet I took it nearly 18 hours prior on my iPhone):

While I could skim through the workouts, I’ll use the Apple Fitness mantra filters to narrow it down. So I’ll tap the filter, which then gives me a list of trainers to choose from. Now since at this juncture you’re not likely to know any of them, this option becomes little more than a Tinder popularity contest based on appearances. Thankfully, you can instead just select another filter instead – like Time or Music. So in my case, we’ll pick a 20-minute workout to begin, and then see what’s available:

This isn’t all that different than what Peloton does, except Peloton updates the list of classes in real-time below as you make each selection, versus with Apple Fitness+ you need to hit the ‘Done’ button. Note, you don’t need to select all of the options – just one (or none).

Here’s the list of options to chose from, giving you a very brief and meaningless title of ‘Cycling with [Name]’, and below it the type of music. This is where we see far better descriptions from Peloton, with themes beyond just a music type. For example, a ride might be focused on intervals, or another one a recovery ride, etc… None of that exists here.

Since I’ve already cycled with Tyrell and Emily, so I’m going to pick Cycling with Kym, and her Everything Rock one from Oct 19th. On the right side you’ll see the music tracks that make up this workout (in fact, clicking on anything on that panel opens up Apple Music with the playlist there).

We can hit ‘Preview’ to get a 30-second snippet from the video, though I haven’t found any of these terribly useful since they’re actually too edited to provide any useful context or clues about the class. I prefer how Peloton just lets you basically skim the class in the preview on a bike/tread, it’s far more functional to figure out if I’m going to like that particular instructor or music selection. However on Peloton’s Digital App you technically have to start the class to skim through it, but you can at least skim around and see if it’s what you want (and then delete it). Versus Apple doesn’t allow you to skim.

Also, I have seen numerous times in two different locations on three different devices, cases where classes would simply just fail to load with a number of random error messages:

What’s unclear about the above message is that it doesn’t tell me if it’s a service issue, or perhaps an issue on my end (my other devices worked fine internet-wise, and this one too also was able to load a webpage. I tried again a minute or two later and it went through just fine).

Doing the Workouts:

With our workout selected, we’ll hit the ‘Let’s Go’ button to begin. Once you’ve done so, it’ll connect to your Apple Watch nearby and both will show the big green play button circle, which means they’re connected and in-sync, and ready to begin. This is true whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.

Note that you can do an iPhone workout without your watch (if for example, it’s not charged). It’ll just note that it’s a watch-less workout. In that case you can’t get any heart rate data into the workout, since Fitness+ won’t directly connect to a Bluetooth HR strap.

Once you’ve begun the workout you’ll see your metrics in the upper left. This includes the elapsed or remaining time (your choice), your current heart rate, and total calorie burn during the workout. The pink line below it is the ‘Burn Bar’, more on that in a second. In the upper right is a view of your current ‘Rings’, per the usual Apple Watch activity rings (standing/exercise/activity rings).

You can turn off these components if you want, leaving you with just a simple video playing.

Speaking of turning off, there’s the ‘Burn Bar’, which aims to be a mini leaderboard of sorts. It’s the pink line you see below the calories. I say ‘leaderboard of sorts’, because it’s mostly useless. It just tells me how I’m doing relative to everyone else, but certainly doesn’t show me how my friend did on that class, or anyone else at all.

In terms of instruction during the class, as I dive into a bit later, it’s gonna depend a lot on your instructor. Some are great, and some really suck. Not because I didn’t like their personalities, but because they failed to be clear about what to actually do.

One challenge that Apple Fitness+ faces though is lack of metrics on the screen. For example, the cycling instructors routinely call out specific cadences to use. Except, I can’t show cadence on Apple Fitness+, because I can’t pair a cadence sensor (unlike the Peloton digital app). While Apple’s own Fitness+ page has a pile of connected sports tech things you should buy – none of it actually connects to Apple Fitness+.

You can see the instructors struggle at times with presenting these instructions. For example, Tyrell noted numerous times to simply match his legs as an alternative. While Kym tended to aim more for slower or super high speeds that were easier to distinguish. These two instructors also understood how to convey intensities, using terms that were super clear – so that you knew whether this was a hill to die on, or one to go easier and save it for next time. Whereas another class I took from another instructor was totally ambivalent, making it mostly useless.

Once you’re done you’ll get a simple summary screen, showing you top-line stats. But here’s the thing – I’m a numbers guy. And when I sign-up for a 20-minute class, it better be 20 minutes. Not 19 mins 40 seconds. That’s like stopping a 5K race at 4.9KM. One thing that people who do structured workouts (or even a Peloton class) appreciate is that when they specify a 45-minute or 60-minute workout – it’s actually that duration. It’s not hard.  Also, why does this summary screen take up only about 25% of the screen’s usable display?

And ironically, one of the weirdest privacy quirks of this entire thing is that for these indoor GPS-less workouts, it actually records your GPS location and puts a precise map on your completed workout page in the bottom left corner. Why? There’s exactly zero reason to do this. No other company in the fitness space does this – at all. Ever. So if you were to share this as a screenshot (since…you know, Apple doesn’t have a way to do that otherwise), this would be included. Why?

In any case, let’s choose another class, this time a short treadmill class with ‘Scott’. After some internet digging, Scott was previously an instructor at a treadmill studio in NYC, and, as I’ll quickly learn – it shows. He knew what he was doing here.

Within the class there were also two other treadmill people there. One is doing the walking version, while the other was…well…it wasn’t clear to be honest. In theory these modifiers basically have differing goals, but in practice in many workouts it’s just super fuzzy. For example, in the running one it was clear that the woman on the left was walking and the instructions were noted by Scott for walking. Yet, it wasn’t clear what the women on the right was doing.

In fact, in the three different cycling classes I took – these additional people served no purpose whatsoever, despite apparently being instructors. For example, in Kym’s class, Tyrell was there. She even asked questions of the participants – but the answers were literally edited down to essentially a ‘Woot’ or laugh. You’ve got these other instructors there – build that bond, don’t let that opportunity fall flat, especially if the chemistry is good.

Yet at the same time, when there are apparently random people off the street in a class awkwardly smiling…why? They didn’t serve any purpose to motivate since it’s not clear why there were these three people there. [Update: I’ve been told all random people are in fact instructors in some way, though, they’re not always introduced. Thus, I’d argue they’re still random if they’re never actually introduced.]

Oh – back in the class, you’ll notice the distance on running. This comes from the accelerometer in the Apple Watch. Again, despite Apple actually highlighting connected treadmills on their Apple Fitness+ page, the app won’t connect to them. Also shown below is the time remaining in the interval.

In general, I liked Scott’s workout, and could be convinced to give a longer one a whirl. That’s sorta the point of trying shorter ones, to figure out if you like or don’t like a personality. I suspect he’d actually be more fun to run with outdoors, or when he’s not trying to cater to literally everyone. This is another good reason why Apple needs to have labels on workouts as to their purpose (e.g. High Intensity, or Base, or whatever).

After that, I did a cool-down workout. This was essentially stretching with a bit of ‘mindfulness’ built in. Which, I guess is just stretching without physically stretching. Not my cup of tea per se, but I get it. And while I probably wouldn’t repeat the class, I thought the instructor did a good job.

And finally, now let’s choose a core workout class.

This was fine too, nothing of major surprise here, and the one I had seemed pretty basic/straightforward – probably moving a bit too fast, but then again, I selected a shorter class here.

As with the first workout, all of these are synced to my Apple Watch and back into Apple Health on my smartphone. However, none of these will sync to Strava or any other platform by default. If you want to do that, you’ve gotta:

A) Manually import the workout via Strava or another app like HealthFit.
B) Then manually change the workout title on Strava to match the workout description (or pick your own)
C) Choose to export the header image from Apple Fitness+
D) Add that photo in manually to the Strava workout

And then, you’ve got a workout on Strava. Of course, the only thing you’ll get is heart rate for cycling. For running, you’ll also get cadence and pace however.

Or, if you were on any other platform except Apple Fitness+, it’d just do all that for you magically.

Now, a few random notes after completing about half a dozen Apple+ Workouts:

– Like any other platform (or real life in general), you’ll have preferences with which instructors you prefer. That’s great, and part of the spice of life. However, the very first class I took was a 20-minute cycle class with [withheld to be nice]. And wow, that was the worst class I’ve ever taken (on any platform). And not necessarily because of her ‘style’, but rather, the fact that it was such a soulless impersonal class. The instructor fake-smiled the entire way through, while calling out meaningless intensities without giving any clarity on what those intensities actually meant. Never mind the fact that the music wasn’t at all in sync or even complementary to the class. It was astoundingly bad. Had I not needed to write this review, I’d probably never opened the app again.

– Yet other instructors are great, and clearly actually experienced in this field. Take for example Tyrell Désean, another cycling instructor whose class I took. In his case, he knew how to explain each intensity level in terms that were useful, despite not having any real metrics (like cadence or wattage or resistance) to leverage. The music supported the narrative of his class, and he had genuine emotion throughout. He wasn’t plastic-surgery smiling when he was suffering. And he included a slew of personal tidbits throughout the class that ended up being an entire (funny) theme. It was just as good as any top Peloton instructor, likely because he was a top SoulCycle instructor before Apple recruited him.

– Another great cycling instructor was Kym Perfetto. It was clear almost immediately that she’s an actual cyclist, with clear history in the sport. She referenced various specific routes/climbs in the greater LA area a few times, including one I’ve done. It made it real and relatable. Some quick Googling later on found that indeed, she’s a very legit cyclist – having ridden across numerous continents more than once. Also, a noted crit racer as well. Finally, prior to all this, she was a SoulCycle instructor – and it shows in her classes.

– Inexplicably, Airplay doesn’t actually work. Seriously. I can’t Airplay Apple Fitness+ from my iPad to my Apple TV. Why would you want to do that, you might ask? Well, simple: During many of the core/floor type workouts, you may be on the ground facing one direction (like doing a plank), and having the iPad on the ground near your head, while also having it mirrored to a larger TV screen for when facing/standing up is super useful. I fail to understand why this is restricted, as it establishes the Airplay mirror, syncs the audio, but shows a black screen on the Apple TV.

– You can’t multi-task: If you try and leave the Apple Fitness+ app on your phone, such as to answer a text, the entire workout grinds to a halt. While I can understand the coaching drive here, most other platforms continue on in the background. It’s just frustrating the way Apple has done it. Like, are we back to the days before multi-tasking on the iPhone now?

– Apple’s stream quality is very good: One of the things that’s always frustrated me about Peloton, no matter the platform or device, is that the quality of their streams is poor. Not unacceptable, but not great either. YouTube easily outclasses it at 72op, let alone any other resolution. There’s really no excuse for this on Peloton’s side, other than paying more for bandwidth. They clearly shoot the videos at higher resolution, and the Peloton devices and apps are easily capable of higher compression (again, YouTube looks far better). Point here being Apple’s streams are super crispy on all devices. Sharp and high resolution.

– There’s no feedback to Apple: For every Peloton class you finish, you rate it. This includes the instructor, accuracy, and difficulty. It allows Peloton to figure out what works and doesn’t work. Except, that doesn’t exist in Apple Fitness+. They have no idea whether or not you liked the workout or thought it was hot garbage. It’s too bad, as there’s no better feedback loop than being shown that when you complete a workout. No amount of user surveys will ever capture that data as well as an end-screen does.

– Music integration is well done. All the music for each workout is listed in the description for every workout, complete with the full playlist. You can tap it to load it into Apple Music and see it there. As a Spotify person, this isn’t super ideal, but hey, at least it’s listed. On a Peloton bike I can tap to add a track to Spotify or Apple Music, but I can’t see the single-tap load playlist easily for every workout – I’d have to do each track manually. And I can’t do that on the Peloton digital app itself. Here, it just magically works – at least if you’re on Apple Music.

That said on music, I don’t feel like the Apple Fitness+ productions seem to care as much about music as the Peloton ones. Many of the tracks were kinda blah relative to what was going on in the class at the time, and countless times they weren’t in sync at all to the ups and downs of the class. Which isn’t to say Peloton always nails it, but by and large it’s far ahead of what Apple has here in terms of cohesion to the workouts.

Pricing & Availability:

Ultimately, the goal of Fitness Plus is probably less about getting you fit and more about getting into your wallet. And specifically, likely getting you to spend more money on Apple subscription services than you otherwise would have. Here, let me show you all the variants you can pay for. Note however, that availability-wise, Fitness Plus is only available in the following countries at launch:

Availability: US, Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand

In other words, English Language focused countries – and Apple hasn’t stated when other countries might be available, but if Peloton and other trainer-focused fitness platforms are any indication, it’ll probably be a heck of a long time, since they’d be likely spinning up entire content divisions to those languages natively. Which ultimately makes this substantially different than any of their other services, which basically just require easy by comparison localization in user interfaces.

As far as pricing goes, unlike Apple’s other services (e.g. Arcade or news, etc…), the Fitness Plus service is only offered by itself or in the full Apple One Premier plan. It’s not offered in any of the less expensive Apple One plans:

Base Fitness Plus Only: $9.99/month or $79/year

Apple One Premier Plan: $29.95/month (includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, 2TB iCloud storage) – can be shared with up to 5 other family members.

Note again that Apple Watch owners get one month free, and new Apple Watch purchasers from September 15th, 2020 get 3 months free.

A Quick Comparison to Peloton:

Of course, many are comparing Fitness+ to Peloton, but more specifically to Peloton’s app-only service, called “Peloton Digital”. That service doesn’t require any Peloton hardware, it’s just an app you load up on a device of your choice and then can get right into the workouts. There’s also the full Peloton Bike/Tread service offering, which is $40/month – and requires a Peloton Bike or Tread (Treadmill). The content is *EXACTLY* the same, with the only software difference being when you have a Peloton bike you also get cycling power and resistance shown on the bike screen. Users without Peloton hardware can’t get that. Further, in order to connect to Strava, you have to at least do a one-time setup of your account on a physical Peloton bike/treadmill.

In any case, here’s a quick comparison chart of the main differences:

Apple Fitness+ vs Peloton Digital App

Apple Fitness PlusPeloton Digital
Cost: Monthly$9.95 $12.99/month
Cost: Annual$79.99 N/A
AvailabilityUS, Canada, Australia, UK, Ireland, NZUS, Canada, UK
Instructors21~34
Approx # of Classes~20020,000+
New Weekly ClassesYes (TBD #)Yes (~50-70/week)
Live ClassesNoYes
Series/GroupingsNoYes
Treadmill: RunningYesYes
Treadmill: WalkingYesYes
Outdoor: RunningNoYes
Indoor CyclingYesYes
CoreYesYes
RowingYesNo
YogaYesYes
DanceYesNo
StrengthYesYes
HIIT**YesYes
CooldownsYesYes
Meditiation***SortaYes
Leaderboard of sortsSortaYes
Workout with someoneNoYes
Public UsernamesNoYes
Heart Rate SensorsApple Watch & BT HR SensorsApple Watch & BT HR Sensors*
Running SensorsYes (Apple Watch)No
Cycling CadenceNoYes
Daily Workout SuggetionYesNo
3rd Party Integration****No (Apple Health only)Strava/Fitbit
Tag music to libraryApple Music Only on Peloton hardware
iOSYesYes
iPad OSYesYes
AndroidNoYes
Apple TVYesYes
Fire TVNoYes
RokuNoYes
Web/DesktopNoYes

Some notable nuances:

*Peloton’s Digital App does support the Apple Watch HR, while Peloton’s Bike oddly does not, except the newer Bike+ (Note: There’s zero technical reason Peloton can’t remedy this, it’s trivial within the sports tech industry by simply using a companion app – such as what Zwift does.)
** Apple calls it specifically HIIT, Peloton calls it Cardio. Same-same in this case.
*** Apple calls it ‘Mindful cooldown’, which is part-stretching, part meditation. Peloton is a bit more clear-cut here. Again, for the purposes of avoiding 30 definitions of the roughly similiar things, I’m bundling these together based on their implementations today.
**** As noted in the article, for Strava/Fitbit integration you do have to at least once be on a Peloton physical bike to activate it, then you’re good after that. It can be a friend’s bike, hotel, Peloton sales office, Peloton studio, etc… anywhere…just once.

Summary:

One of the things that COVID-19 has shown us more than ever before, within the indoor fitness space, is that there’s no one perfect app or platform that everyone likes. People have different preferences based on personalities, as well as what they want out of a workout (or don’t want in a workout).  And that extends well beyond just choosing a sport. In Apple’s case, with their vast user base of Apple Watch users, it won’t be hard to find people that will regularly use the platform enough to pay for it.

In some ways Apple Fitness+ is heavily polished, and other ways, it just feels rushed. And perhaps more importantly– in some ways it’s actually polished too much as to remove the personality and human aspects from some of the instructors or classes. Undoubtedly Apple spent a lot of time finding instructors, and many of them that I tried are clearly very good at what they do. I just wish Apple would let them do it more, or, with more personality. When the other instructors are in the class, let them interact – that’s why they’re there, right?

Still, for the first week, this isn’t bad at all. I’ll probably give things another whirl closer to the end of my 90-day trial, to see how they’ve tweaked and optimized it. In Apple’s huge media frenzy earlier this week, they oft talked about how this is just the beginning of what they can do in the Fitness space, and certainly, I believe it. While one might assume from a sports tech space that I want tech for tech’s sake, I’m not saying that here.

However, Apple is a tech company – first and foremost. And I’d like to see them integrate at least some of the sports tech products they feature on the Apple Fitness+ landing page. Basic things like cycling cadence within the app would significantly add to the experience given how many instructors call out cycling cadence in their classes. After all, Apple has GymKit for expressly this purpose – yet, Apple doesn’t support it here.

Still, it’s likely that within a few weeks Apple’s new Fitness Plus platform will become the most widely used paid fitness subscription service out there. But like with when the Apple Watch originally launched, I don’t think it’ll spell the end for other fitness platforms (or even all gyms). Instead, it’ll probably do exactly what happened with the Apple Watch launch: Draw in interest to their competitors, while raising the profile of the entire space and increasing the number of people in the market. Plus – it’s never a bad thing when a company as big as Apple wants to invest in sports and fitness.

With that – thanks for watching!

DC Rainmaker:

View Comments (113)

    • The initial focus here is targeting people wanting to start a workout routine, as well as some experienced people already on Apple Watch who don’t have high demands, or will use this in addition to another system. Another reviewer elsewhere says he’ll keep Fitness+ AND Peloton as he liked different aspects of both and the combined cost was cheaper than what he used to pay for gym membership. The value is attractive if one was already motivated to get Apple One.

  • Good summary. I'm impressed that you were able to get the review out so quickly- with lots of detail.
    I've used it a bunch since it came out this week and will continue through the free trial (I only get a month). But so far it's definitely not as good as the Peloton digital app. The number of classes is so much more limited, and the types of cycling classes just a bit random, as you said, with no description of type. I love the Peloton outdoor runs too- maybe Apple will add those eventually.
    One thing I do like about Fitness+ is that it prompts me to add a "mindful cooldown" right when I finish the workout- and I actually really enjoyed it. Yes I know you can do that with Peloton but it's not as seamless. Also, my daughter and mother can also use Fitness+ on our family plan, so I might end up keeping both.

  • Got to echo your annoyance with the lack of Airplay support. My workout room has a big screen TV, but I only have an old-style AppleTV attached, but I figured with Airplay mirroring I could use it for Fitness+.

    Airplay works fine on it, I can mirror Zwift from my phone, Sufferfest videos (like the Yoga and Strength ones) work just fine as down pretty much everything else, *except* for some unknown reason, Apple Fitness+, where the screen just goes blank (after the big green countdown) when you try to use either Airplay or Mirroring.

    Oddly the video previews actually do work over Airplay! It's very frustrating.

    • The lack of AirPlay needs to be resolved soon. I suspect it’s some kind of technical issue rather than an intentional decision — clearly, some aspects of this service seemed rushed to make end of year launch (likely a desire to grab people with New Year’s Resolutions to work out). I have a modern Apple TV and it is nice there, but Fitness+ shouldn’t be a carrot to force one to get it if they have another AirPlay solution. Ray’s comment of mirroring iPad/Apple TV is a feature I’d use myself in some classes, so AirPlay benefits even people who can use Fitness+ natively on the big screen.

    • It's definitely a purposeful non-technical driven decision. They very specifically broke it.

      In fact, you'll notice how I have zero screenshots of it in-class. That's because even those are hard-broke. You can't take a screenshot in class, it just shots a black screen. Same goes for screen recording, it actually kicks it out after a short while (but still record blackness first).

      I don't really get it. It's like a DRM thing, except, in the case of Apple TV streaming they do stream the music - which if anything is what I'd expect they want to keep 'safe'. Super weird (and also, a @#$# PITA to make reviews about).

    • If I had to guess on the broken AirPlay, perhaps it is some weird attempt to keep some from recording the videos perhaps for the intention of piracy? I really don’t have a great answer. It seems to me if it was intentional and not to be fixed, they would give an error message rather than the black screen and sound, and a public statement of some kind. I thought I also heard this was a problem with something else, maybe music videos in Apple Music, but I may be misrecalling. Regardless, I hope it is either fixed or they change their mind.

    • Do you or anyone here have any further info why screen mirroring ( Airplay or HDMI cable) would not work with Apple Fitness Plus? I specifically bought the Apple Watch for Apple fitness ( as wanted to do a bit of cross training and not only cycling) and now I am forced to use it on a small screen as I do not own an Apple TV. There are so many other apps out there that work perfectly with just a HDMI cable on a TV.

      BTW - Ray I really appreciate what you do and I`d never buy any tech products without reading your reviews!

  • As someone with a water rower at home but not an indoor cycling setup yet, I had not considered Peloton at all, not knowing much about their classes beyond cycling, so I concur Apple’s entry will give more focus on competition, but amused Fitness+ has rowing classes and Peloton does not.

  • If it gets one more person of their butt and increases the overall health of the Western consumer it's a well spent $10/month... I have the Peloton app and will probably keep both for the foreseeable future. The cool thing about the Apple service when you take the larger plan is that it can be used across your family of users, there is no option on Peloton to do the same.

  • Thanks for clarification on the cadence sensor for cycling! I've been scouring the web trying to figure out if this was a possibility. My current solution involves a cheapo Sunny cycle and a Wahoo Cadence sensor with Peloton. RPM is so integral to indoor cycling that the lack of support makes Fitness+ a no-go at this point.

  • Not trying to defend Apple or attack Peloton but I've used both and your info isn't 100% accurate. I only bring it up as you are comparing an App only product (minus the watch of course) to an SW/HW ecosystem and a few of the things you note Peloton can do, you can't do in the Digital version.

    1- In the Peloton Digital app there is no preview of classes, at least not on the iOS versions of the app on iPhone and iPad or the Roku app.

    2 - The Music integration to save songs from your workout is also not available on the Peloton Digital App.

    3 - In your table, you say Peloton Digital can share to Strava and that is not really true UNLESS you log into an actual piece of Peloton hardware and set it up. Which if you are a Digital user is probably not that realistic. So for a proper comparison, you should note that in the table (which you do in the article but oddly much later than where you say Apple can't do it and Peloton can).

    4 - If you upload a run from AF+ using a third-party app, you do get your pace, cadence, and heart rate curves. At least I did using RunGap.

    • Hi Chris-

      Interesting, a couple of thoughts - and updates accordingly.

      1) So it's interesting. You can preview on the digital app, but it's not as nice as on the bike. On the Peloton digital app you'd have to start the class, but you can skim along. You can of course then discard/delete that workout. Whereas Apple doesn't allow any skimming at all. I'll clarify that.

      2) Nice catch, I saw it pop-up on the digital app, but didn't realize it wasn't tied like it is on the bike. Updated.

      3) On the share to Strava, as you noted - I already noted it above in the rest of the review. I think it's actually pretty realistic (albeit annoying), since I suspect many Peloton users can indeed find a friend/hotel/Peloton sales office that has a Peloton bike to do it once. Don't get me wrong, I think it's 100% stupid. But I don't think it's impossible for people. That said, I'll add another caveat below the table since there's plenty already.

      4) Interesting, I hadn't tried pulling in the run workout via Strava, that does pull in cadence/pace. So I updated that. Cycling doesn't of course.

      Cheers!

    • Cool thanks.

      I think everything else you said was spot on though from my limited time with AF+. While it's not unusable it's certainly not aimed at the metric centric, workout crazy people that Peloton is trying to go after. That being said I have enjoyed a few of the workouts quite a bit.

      I'm honestly surprised that Apple didn't just buy Peloton and rebrand it as they did/are doing with Beats.

    • One other point in the comparison is that the Peloton Digital is priced per user, whereas Fitness+ is good for up to 6 people in a Family Plan. The full Peloton subscription supports up to 6 people (I am not exactly clear as to the requirements of the group) but two months of that is the cost of a year of Fitness+ (without the Apple One bundle).

  • I’m having problems using my iPad Pro. Works great on my iPhone but can’t connect my Watch (Series 4) to my iPad. I get the green button if I use my iphone but not with the iPad.

    • I had the same problem. I toggled Bluetooth on and off, and then it worked (on my Apple Watch itself).

    • I’ve managed to get it working. I didn’t have iCloud Keychain enabled on my iPhone (it was on the iPad). Once I did this everything now works ?

  • This seems aimed at minivan soccer mom's and not actually people serious about training.

    Surely Apple's main goal is to get people to keep upgrading their watch/iPhone/iPad. Because, undoubtedly Apple will keep raising the iOS standards.

    Hard pass.

    • It depends, I think most of the content right now is semi-basic. But we've seen how that can evolve as Peloton as shown.

      There's entire cycling power zone structured class series on Peloton now, with legit cycling world champions teaching class, and Tour de France pros too. Their classes are just as legit as anything you'll find on TrainerRoad...just musical.

      Which isn't to say either platform is as long-term structured as TR of course. Part of the thing TR has that Peloton doesn't is the longer term build concepts. The idea that you can build for something. You can do it indirectly with Peloton, but build and taper and recovery cycles just don't exist at this point in Peloton (and certainly not Apple Fitness).

    • Yes, nothing says "forced obsolescence" than a brand new feature that works on 5 year old phones and 3 year old watches. *rolls eyes*

    • Though...in this case there is a bit of truth there: There's absolutely zero technical reason an Apple Watch should be required. As Apple themselves handily demonstrate: You can start/do a class without an Apple Watch just fine - you simply need it instantiated in your account.

    • I firmly believe this will be like every other Apple launch (and frankly what Peloton also did). Launch a service that forces you to buy hardware and grab all those sales from people willing to do that. Then move downmarket with a cheaper or less featured service for those without that HW. Apple has done this their entire existence (remember iPods and iTunes anyone?), no reason to think they will stop now.

    • Beginners, yes but calling out “minivan soccer moms” sounds hella sexist. I know many men who don’t have great fitness regimes and could use a beginner program.

    • One thing others have noted is that Fitness+ instructors use some ASL which I think is a nice touch. Does Peolton do anything similar? Is this actually useful for that community? I hope it is; it sounds nice.

    • Peloton doesn't to my knowledge (or, are way less obvious about it when they do).

      I'm certainly for inclusion here, including ASL. That said, it'll be interesting to:

      A) Here whether or not this is actually meaningful from someone who is hearing impaired, or if the captions (which were very well done) is practically speaking more useful. The ASL bits were mostly for very brief intro and countdown elements (sometimes). So at most 2-3% of what's spoken.

      B) It'll be also interesting to watch as it becomes more natural for the instructors. Many times the ASL felt pretty forced. No different than watching a learning speaker trying to speak another language, things aren't super smooth. Point being, it'll be interesting to see if in, say May, it's far more smooth than now.

    • I’m very surprised they’re not allowing non-Watch users to pair an HR belt as a Watch stand-in. It seems like a very limiting decision, particularly given that Garmin and other brands update Health anyway.

    • I think the logic there is that without the Apple Watch you won't have Activity app on your phone

    • Must be a coincidence that every single day 0 review I saw was a female aiming at that audience who’d had preview access for a while. I agree it’s sexist as hell, Apple can and should do better there. Perhaps I missed the male fitness reviewers with preview access, I only saw the ones linked on Mac rumors.

      Given the date of this review I’m guessing Ray didn’t get preview access.

    • Right, without an Apple watch, there's no way to even access Fitness+, as the Fitness app only appears if you have a watch, and yes, Apple *could* just let that Fitness app work for people without Watches, given that it happily will take any Health based activity import. It's all a bit weird, and yes, I will admit, is aimed at getting people to buy Apple watches. I just take umbrage at people who accuse Apple of forcing upgrades, when they're literally one of the only phone manufacturers that supports phones >2 years old.

    • I think there is a reason that they require an Apple Watch, it is just not a technical one. From talking to various of the Apple Developer relations people (at least one of whom is involved with sports tech), it seems they feel that video workouts with no metrics at all are not compelling enough to keep people engaged. Their concern seems to be that people who do not have an Apple Watch (they are unlikely to integrate this with Garmin or Suunto as an example), will have a bad experience, leave and never come back. They may be wrong about that, but it makes some sense to me.

      I also think it will make it easier for them to integrate hardware control and sensors, as they only need to do it on the platform for which they already support GymKit.

    • Think you are a bit confused about the example you cited. Apple released iTunes as part of its Digital Hub strategy just under a year before they released the iPod, so it was not tied to the iPod. They ported iTunes to Windows when they decided to release an iPod that did not need FireWire (after the release of USB 2.0), that allowed them to move sell it for Windows users.

      I cannot think of a single example where they released a service that required Apple Hardware and then later marketed that service as a standalone product to people without it. The closest to that would be Apple Music, but it is not really marketed to Android users (it is available there, but they seem to consider it mostly as a way for a primarily Apple household to support a single Android user), and I think was announced when the service was announced but did not ship until fall.

      I would not be surprised if they allowed AirPlay streaming of the content, but I would not expect them to remove the Apple Watch requirement.

    • I was thinking the same thing. When my kids were younger I was a mini van driving mom and was (and still am) in great shape

1 2 3 4

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to the use of cookies