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With Fitness Plus, Apple could very well take the lead in on-demand exercise

When Apple Fitness Plus was first announced, I was intrigued by the prospect of being able to work out on my own time and at my own pace. Pair that with its $10 per month subscription cost (or $80 annually), and it’s a win-win situation for anyone who’s looking for an alternative to the usual gym routine. Best of all, I don’t have to waste time with the commuting — giving back precious time to my day.

Apple may be a new player in this on-demand fitness space that has seen rapid growth the last year, but now there’s potential to become the leader. It’s not perfect, yet. However, that can quickly change. How’s that possible you ask? Well, it’ll certainly get a boost from the products and services Apple currently offers. Here’s why that’s important.

Data is gold with the Apple Watch

Speaking to a colleague about my new love-hate relationship with today’s connected home gym equipment yielded a debate on how I felt siloed ecosystems were hurting the consumer. Apple falls into this category, mainly because the Apple Watch won’t export fitness and health data to other services. Importing data from other services, however, is not a problem at all.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

But that’s the thing, data is gold in this budding space, and the Apple Watch is a critical component to the Apple Fitness Plus experience. Yes, it’s a requirement in order to use the service, but more importantly, you can only achieve fitness goals through performance tracking, which is something the Apple Watch does very well. I’ve been using the Apple Watch Series 3 since its release, and despite being a few generations old, it’s still competent at fitness tracking.

The best part is that it’s gathering the data all on its own, without the need to manually add data. The data recorded through workouts completed with Apple Fitness Plus, in turn, is dissected into digestible details that provide me with an overview of my fitness. For example, it tracks how many calories I burn each week. It’ll then set a goal based on my performance, only to set new ones in order to challenge me.

Proper coaching implementation

Even though I’ve just started my Apple Fitness Plus experience, I can already see that there’s room for improvement. While you certainly can get that group class feel with its animated trainers, one problem I face is that it can sometimes be tough to discern if I’m doing a workout correctly. Your form in doing an exercise can make all the difference, but Apple Fitness Plus won’t tell you if you’re doing it the proper way.

Nexus Fitness Sleeve
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This can potentially be remedied quickly in various ways. For one, perhaps the front-facing camera of an iPhone or iPad could be leveraged in some way to track my form in real time. If I’m not bending my knees enough, Apple Fitness Plus could provide me with that feedback. This could also easily be configured to work with the Apple TV, to make the experience more immersive because now you’ll have a giant screen to work with. If Apple were to add a time-of-flight sensor into its iPhones and iPads, it could greatly bring it to a new level — similar to how the Tempo Studio achieves its real-time performance tracking.

Similar to a personal trainer, this feature could elevate Apple Fitness Plus to the same level.

Incentivizing you to exercise

Some people just don’t have the motivation to work out. If you’re in this category, perhaps incentivizing the experience would help you to exercise more frequently. It’s an interesting strategy that has been offered, but Apple could leverage it in a more robust way that extends beyond just Apple Fitness Plus.

Just recently, I came across the Paceline app for iOS, which provides users with rewards for working out. Using the data obtained by my Apple Watch, I’m able to claim rewards such as gift cards by working out consistently. This form of incentivizing could be implemented by Apple to work with Apple Pay. Sure, it may take some time to generate a substantial reward by exercising, but it would be the first move to motivate people.

We’re just at the beginning of this story, so it’ll be fascinating to see what new directions Apple Fitness Plus will embark on to become a force in the fitness space. It’s likely that the prospect is favorable, given how Apple has exhibited success in past ventures into new categories.

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John Velasco
John is the Smart Home editor at Digital Trends covering all of the latest tech in this emerging market. From uncovering some…
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