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Alongside the debut of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE at its Time Flies event back in September, Apple also announced its plans for a new fitness service, dubbed Apple Fitness+, and now it looks like we have an official launch date: December 14th.
Of course, we knew it had to be coming soon, as Apple had promised it would arrive by the end of this year, and frankly not only has time really been flying by, but it would be very odd for it to make its debut any closer to Christmas than it already is.
Further, indications of the new service appeared in the watchOS 7.2 betas back in mid-November, and by the end of last month Apple’s team of Fitness instructors had begun hyping the service on social media.
Now it’s official, however. In a press release issued this morning, Apple has announced that “The future of fitness” will be launching December 14th, bringing all of its promised studio-style workouts to the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV while letting users track their workouts on the Apple Watch.
What Apple Fitness+ Brings
We first heard reports that Apple was working on a new video-based fitness service back in March as a result of code found in early iOS and tvOS betas that suggested workout programs that could be shown on the Apple TV, although nobody quite imagined the full scope of the service back then.
Apple Fitness+ goes beyond just offering instructional workout videos — after all, you can get those on YouTube — into integrating so tightly with the Apple Watch that you actually won’t even be able to use the service unless you own Apple’s wearable.
The entire gamut of Apple Fitness+ training videos, which include 10 of the most popular workout types, from High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Core Training to Yoga, Dance, Cycling, and Mindful Cooldown routines, will intelligently integrate the metrics from your Apple Watch, displaying information overlaid right on top of the workout on your Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad so that you can track things like heart rate, calories burned, and more.
It’s also not just a static overlay, but rather the Apple Watch info will be seamlessly integrated with the training video, so that for example when the instructor tells you to check your heart rate, the appropriate metrics will be shown on your screen.
Information from your Apple Watch will also be used to help motivate you, such as showing you when you close your activity rings, or allowing you to display a Burn Bar in higher-intensity workouts so you can compete against your friends.
Moving to the Beat
Not surprisingly, Apple has also leveraged its nearly two decades of expertise with music curation by tying Apple Music into the Apple Fitness+ experience.
Not only will each workout feature music tailored to the workout experience, but you’ll be able to choose between nine different styles of music, including Latest Hits, Chill Vibes, Upbeat Anthems, Pure Dance, Throwback Hits, Everything Rock, Latin Grooves, Hip Hop/R&B, and Top Country to listen to a curated workout playlist that matches your preferences.
You’ll also be able to approach Apple Fitness+ from the other direction by searching for a workout that fits your current mood and the type of music you feel like listening to.
Best of all, you don’t actually need an Apple Music subscription to enjoy the playlists in Fitness+, although having one will allow you to favourite individual songs or playlists in order to listen to them later.
Workouts for All
Perhaps the best thing about Apple Fitness+ is that it will offer a whole gamut of workouts in every area to appeal to all levels of ability and interest, so even if you’re a beginner just starting to get into shape you can jump right in, but there will also be more than enough advanced workouts for those who want to take their routines to the next level.
Intuitive filters will let you choose your workout by specific trainer, duration, type of workout, and preferred music, and Apple has also incorporated machine learning to analyze those workouts you’ve previously completed and offer up suggestions for what to do next, and this doesn’t just include Apple Fitness+ workouts, but actually all workouts you’ve done using third-party apps that tie into Apple Health, so if you’ve been working out all along in other apps like Strava or Zwift you’ll be able to get some great recommendations right away.
How to Get It
Apple Fitness+ will be launching in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. next Monday and requires iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2 on your iPhone and Apple Watch, so presumably we know that those updates will be released by next Monday, if not sooner, and if you want to use it on your iPad or Apple TV, you’ll need iPadOS 14.3 and/or tvOS 14.3 on those devices.
Apple Fitness+ is available as an individual subscription for $9.99/month or $79.99/year, and like other Apple services you’ll be able to share it with up to five other family members for the same price. A one-month free trial is available for all current Apple Watch users, while those purchasing a new Apple Watch Series 3 or later will get three months of Apple Fitness+ for free. Best Buy is also still offering its exclusive promotion of up to six months of free Apple Fitness+ with the purchase of an Apple Watch.
Of course, if you opt for the Apple One Premier bundle, you’ll also get Apple Fitness+ included, and in fact, the pricing of the Apple One bundle is such that you’re basically getting both Apple Fitness+ and Apple News+ for free for the price of a subscription to an Apple Music family plan, Apple Arcade or Apple TV+, and a 2TB iCloud Storage plan. Although unfortunately users in Ireland or New Zealand won’t be able to take advantage of this as the Apple One Premier bundle isn’t available due to the lack of the Apple News+ service in those countries.