Apple is expanding its reach in the fitness realm with a new initiative called Apple Watch Connected.
Now, Apple Watch wearers who attend partner facilities can view class schedules, easily track their workouts, make purchases, and earn rewards for working out. Launch partners include Basecamp Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness, YMCA, and Crunch Fitness.
Beyond perks: With rewards and discounts serving as a customer acquisition tool, this move signals Apple’s intention to own even more of the fitness stack — from payments to health data and potentially healthcare.
In related news: Amid a shifting fitness landscape, including continued pressure from on-demand fitness options, boutique studios are upping their game to attract and retain members. The most recent example saw Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) partner with Apple in hopes of improving the member experience.
Sync-up. The new device, called the “OTbeat Link”, attaches to the band of an Apple Watch, tracking heart rate and syncing that data to a live leaderboard in each Orangetheory class.
- The OTbeat Link will cost $129.
- Two new apps for coaches were also announced.
- According to OTF, “43% of members are already using their Apple Watch during class”.
For OTF, a studio that stresses data and a science-backed approach to exercise, this move enforces their value proposition. And, for members who are likely to obsess over their performance and activity stats, OTF workouts will contribute to closing their Apple Watch Activity Rings.
Zooming out: From the home to the studio and the office to a hotel, integrated technology, connected fitness, and on-demand content are becoming the status quo. At a time when consumers have more options than ever, [facilities] are looking for a hook. With that, Apple will have no problem onboarding more partner gyms.
Takeaway: As part of the 2020 Fitt Insider Outlook, we highlighted the potential of a mega-brand like Google, Apple, or Amazon making a play to vertically integrate healthcare, rolling up components of both health and fitness. This new initiative makes that outcome seem even more likely, with Apple well-positioned to preside over the entire health and fitness stack.