The Fitness+ service can be viewed on an iPhone, iPad or via an Apple TV set-top box [APPLE]

Apple has unveiled a new personalised workout subscription service alongside new smartwatches and tablet computers.

Fitness+ collects health data gathered by an Apple Watch and then displays it alongside workout videos shown on a larger display.

The platform will compete with existing fitness apps on iOS from Peloton, Les Mills and Fiit.

It also poses a challenge to Fitbit, whose wearables benefit from their own health-coaching subscription service.

As many had forecast, Apple decided to hold back details of its next iPhones for a separate event.

Apple labs
The iPhone 12 was not unveiled but may have snuck in an appearance in a shot of Apple’s labs [APPLE]

Yoga and dance

Like some of its rivals, Fitness+ also allows competitive users to see how their own efforts compare with others who have completed the same fitness routine previously.”

Health-tracking continues to be a major focus for Apple, and its new Fitness+ service signals its intent to generate more revenue from its products in this area,” commented Leo Gebbie from the consultancy CCS Insight.

Fitness+ will initially launch in six countries including the US and UK before the end of 2020.

It will cost £10 per month or £80 per year as a standalone service, which can be shared among members of the same family.

Fitness+ features cycling, dance, treadmill and yoga routines among others [APPLE]

Alternatively, it can be purchased alongside other Apple services – including iCloud storage, Arcade video games and Apple Music – for about £30 per month – as part of the top tier of a bundle of services called Apple One.

Other mixes of services can be subscribed to for lower fees.”Support for 10 different workouts with and without equipment, and the fact it is being sold at a family price will make Fitness+ very attractive,” said Carolina Milanesi from the Silicon Valley-based consultancy Creative Strategies.”

And I don’t think bundling it with the other services is anti-competitive, as you are seeing other services do the same thing – for example Disney’s Hulu TV service in the US with Spotify.”

Spotify, however, has suggested the bundles are another example of Apple abusing its “dominant position” and has called on regulators to intervene.

Tim Cook
Chief executive Tim Cook introduced the virtual event from Apple’s headquarters in California [APPLE]

But one personal trainer said he did not see the new service as competition for one-on-one sessions with an online coach.”

The real results come from support, accountability and understanding human behaviour, and being able to tailor a fitness regime to an individual so that it is sustainable,” Sam Wake told the BBC.

Oxygen saturation

Apple unveiled two new ranges of smartwatches: the high-end Series 6 Watch and lower-priced Watch SE.

The Series 6 introduces a blood-oxygen sensor to help manage conditions that affect the heart and lungs.

It measures SpO2 levels, which indicate how much oxygen is being carried by the user’s red blood cells from the lungs to other parts of their body.

Apple suggested this could potentially act as means to detect the early onset of respiratory problems, although its small print says the feature is “not intended for medical use”.

Samsung, Huawei and Fitbit already sell smartwatches that provide the same facility.

However, their ability to offer it has depended on the approval of local health regulators.

The SE model lacks the new sensor and uses a slower processor, but otherwise offers most of the features found in the more expensive model.

Apple watch series 6
The new smartwatches can be customised with a cartoon-like character resembling the owner [APPLE]

These include sleep-tracking and a new facility targeted at children called Family Set-up.

It can be set to trigger automatic location notifications to a child’s parents when the wearer visits familiar places like their grandparents or school.

It also makes it possible to assign a unique phone number to a Watch, rather than using one that already belongs to an iPhone.

Smartwatch sales table

“A logical use would be for a parent to give a child a cellular-enabled Apple Watch so they can remain in contact,” commented Mr Gebbie.

“We expect to see hand-me-down Watches used in this scenario, rather than a device bought specifically for this purpose.”

The Series 6 range starts at £379 and SE at £269.

Source: BBC


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