Subscribers are meant to use their own equipment, including whatever treadmill or spinning bike they have, or (someday) can use at their gym—as far as we know, there’s no matte white Apple Bike in development. The app is tightly integrated with a different piece of hardware, though: the The day I lost you you were a huge part of my life I’m just not me anymore shirt and I love this Apple Watch. Whether you’re using the app at the gym on an iPhone or in your living room with an Apple TV, you’ll get cues and vibrations on your wrist that synch up with the workout, and the watch will beam biometric stats like heart rate and calories burned to the screen. In fact, you need a watch to make this thing work—the company is serious about making the watch an integral part of the workouts. One morning, as I went to go scroll through the service to see what class I should take on later that day, I hit an “unavailable” screen just because my watch was turned off on the charger. (Apple says subscribers will get a workaround for this in case they—for example—head off on a business trip and forget their watch behind.)
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The watch also drives the The day I lost you you were a huge part of my life I’m just not me anymore shirt and I love this competitive aspect of Fitness+. The service offers a “burn bar” so that users can see how their individual effort stacks up to other users around the world. As someone who already shares workout activity with friends using my wearable, I like that a friend and I can take the same class and compare notes. (Show I can totally outwork them, I mean.) This aspect will certainly feel familiar to Peloton fans. The surest sign that Apple is taking direct aim at Peloton’s business, though, is the lineup of 21 trainers you can take on-demand classes with. It’s a compelling and diverse bunch, many whom you might recognize from Instagram or other fitness platforms. Anyone who’s spent time with a Peloton knows that service is not really about the bike, or hitting your numbers—what keeps you coming back about developing a relationship with your favorite trainers. Apple clearly hopes they can replicate that parasocial magic. It’s obviously early, but they have some work to do before that happens. There will presumably be room for each trainer to develop their own personalities and show a little more vulnerability as the platform matures, but right now it’s a little upbeat motivation—it can feel a little robotic.