Apple is challenging Peloton in the race to dominate the future of fitness — and it says a lot about its master plan for the Apple Watch (AAPL, PTON)

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Health has been one of Apple’s major priorities for years, ever since the original Apple Watch debuted in 2015. But the company took a major leap forward in its health ambitions with the introduction of two new Apple Watches and a digital fitness service on Tuesday.

Taken together, the announcements show that Apple has its sights set on new audiences — particularly one that Peloton has already been targeting. It also says a lot about Apple’s strategy for the Apple Watch, namely that the company is already starting to lean into the services-heavy approach it’s taken with the iPhone in recent years. 

One of the biggest announcements at Apple’s September 15 event was the unveiling of Apple Fitness Plus, a subscription service that provides access to a range of recorded workouts from top trainers around the world. The app features a custom engine for recommending workouts based on your current routines and integrates with the Apple Watch by showing your activity rings on screen.

Like Peloton’s classes, Apple Fitness Plus courses are led by vibrant, energetic trainers and cover a variety of workout types, from cycling to running and yoga among others.

It’s a clear effort to dip into Peloton’s market, which encompasses a community of 1.4 million members and spiked earlier this year as the coronavirus pandemic forced gyms across the country to close. Apple Fitness Plus, however, was in development long before the COVID-19 outbreak.

The appeal of Peloton compared to Apple

While Peloton may be best known for its high-end fitness bicycles and treadmills, which start at $1,895 and $4,295 respectively, the company considers itself a media company — highlighting how crucial its interactive classes are to its success. Peloton’s charismatic, motivational trainers and addictive classes are at the heart of its appeal, elevating it to cult-like status among fitness enthusiasts. 

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Apple does offer one important advantage over Peloton, however: it’s cheaper. A subscription to Apple Fitness Plus will cost $9.99 per month when it launches later this year, compared to Peloton’s $39-per-month subscription.

And Apple’s service isn’t associated with hardware that costs thousands of dollars (although it’s certainly possible to do a Peloton workout with non-Peloton equipment). Apple Fitness Plus workouts can be done on any equipment, and many can be done without any gear at all. But it does, of course, require an Apple Watch.

Still, a big part of what makes Peloton so popular is the community and social element behind it. Peloton’s leaderboard, the ability to take classes with the people you follow on Peloton, and give virtual high fives are a big part of the Peloton experience.

It’s also about what happens when you’re not on the bike; Peloton has cultivated an online community that makes it feel more like a lifestyle rather than a brand. The official Peloton members Facebook group has more than 340,000 members, but there are plenty of niche groups created by users that cater to everyone from newcomers to runners and specific “tribes.”

It’s that combined with the convenience …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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