Apple officially revealed its new Fitness+ service back in September, but at the time the company wouldn’t offer a launch window more specific than “late 2020”. Well, with just a few weeks left in this awful year, the company has confirmed that the service will go live on December 14th, just in time to help people get a jump on that one pesky New Year’s resolution.
Since it’s been a little while since the service was announced, let’s quickly run through the basics again. Fitness+ offers a slew of on-demand workout classes for a number of popular exercise types, including cycling, yoga, treadmill runs, rowing, dance and more. New classes will be made available weekly, though it’s worth noting these aren’t Peloton-style streams with callouts and encouragement from instructors. All the workouts — for now, anyway — are just videos you can cue up when it’s time to sweat.
What makes the service potentially interesting is how tightly it ties in with the Apple Watch — starting a video from an iOS device or Apple TV kicks off the corresponding workout on the Watch, and metrics like heart rate and calories are beamed from the wearable to the screen. Apple says the service can also suggest workouts that dovetail with, or diverge from, a user’s exercise history. And beyond all that, a so-called “Burn Bar” offers more competitive users a glimpse at how their performance in a workout measures up to others who have completed it in the past.
To get a keen sense of just how badly Apple wants Fitness+ to stick, just look at how strongly the company is pushing it. People who have purchased a new Apple Watch after September 15th will get three months of Fitness+ service for free, while existing Watch owners get a one month trial gratis. There’s more to the deal than that, though — people who buy an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer will get six months of free Fitness+ instead.
After those trial periods expire, the service will cost $10/month, or a discounted $80/year if you’d rather pay upfront. Meanwhile, people who have bought into the highest tier of the Apple One services bundle will get Fitness+ — along with Apple Music, News+ and the rest — for $30/month. Just a reminder: you can share that “Premier” plan with up to five other people via Family Sharing, making the bundle a whole lot more palatable. If all you care about is Fitness+, though, you can similarly share a single subscription with up to five other “family” members, which means multiple households could theoretically run off a single $10/month charge.
Long story short, Apple is sweetening this deal pretty dramatically, and with good reason. Launches like Apple TV+ have proven that for the folks in Cupertino, making gobs of money off subscriptions right off the bat is less important than giving the service away until it becomes hard to live without. Last time we checked, Apple had just over $190 billion in cash on hand — clearly, it can afford to operate Fitness+ at a loss for a while, and it very likely will.