On September 15, Apple CEO Tim Cook held a virtual Apple Event to announce a range of new products, features and services. Among them was the most powerful iPad Air ever, an eighth-generation iPad, Apple Watch Series 6 and a brand new Apple Watch SE model. But it was their soon-to-be-launched fitness platform, aptly titled Apple Fitness+, which caught our attention. The new personalised fitness experience is designed to work alongside your Apple Watch and promises to solve all of your workout problems. Okay, those are my words and not Apple’s, but after speaking with Jay Blahnik, who heads up Apple’s fitness and health, it appears that when the platform arrives later this year, it will do precisely that.
“We wanted to build a fitness service where dance workouts were given as much love as HIIT workouts. Where 10 minute workouts were as celebrated as 45-minute workouts,” says Blahnik, whose formal title is senior director of fitness for health technologies at Apple. “A service where everyone feels welcome, regardless of what motivates you, moves you or inspires you.”
Blahnik tells Vogue that his team approached designing the service by ensuring it was accessible to everyone—from those who consider the gym a second home, to those who don’t want to or can’t step foot inside a gym. “We wanted Fitness+ to be a good value for users who may workout with the service everyday, but also for users who may only have time to use it once a week,” he explains. “Apple Fitness+ was built around a very simple inspiration—which we live every day—that the entire service is built to help more people close more Activity Rings more often.”
Blahnik is tapping into the heart of Apple Fitness+: that it has been designed to work in tandem with your Apple Watch to inspire you to get moving. That means encouraging you to ‘close your rings,’ which already-established Apple Watch fans will know as the practice of ticking three boxes within the day—your exercise goal, your calorie burn goal and your stand goal. As Blahnik describes, with that vision as a starting point, Apple Fitness+ turned into a fully-fledged fitness platform featuring studio-style workouts delivered by world-class trainers making it possible to exercise whenever and wherever you like.
“The weekly drop of workouts was inspired by the type of schedule you’d see of weekly classes at your gym. So you could have more than enough workouts for the week, and pick the ones that best fit into your life and do them whenever you want.”
Here’s how it works: Apple Fitness+ will launch with a number of the most common workout types including cycling, treadmill, rowing, HIIT, strength, yoga, dance, core, and mindful cooldown. Each workout will be set to music curated by the trainer featured in the exercise video. You can select from 10-minute, 20-minute, 30-minute or 45-minute workouts, with new ones dropping weekly. If you’re new to exercise, there’s even an Absolute Beginner program that goes back to the basics of movement and exercise. All of this, with trainers hand-picked by Blahnik, who has dedicated his entire decades-long career to understanding the art of fitness.
A 10-minute workout sounds almost too good to be true but Blahnik promises that even carving out 10 minutes of your day to dedicate to exercise can go a long way to changing your overall health and fitness. “Of course we wanted the Fitness+ Trainers to be specialists in their field, but we also wanted each of them to have their own inspiring fitness journeys and life experiences that we believe would resonate and inspire our users. And it was really important to us that they had a passion not just for the very fit, but also for the beginner. We wanted Fitness+ to be a service where everyone was invited to the party, regardless of your fitness experience or ability.” As Blahnik attests, 10 minutes per day can add up to an hour of exercise in your week by Saturday—and every bit counts.
Since 2020 has seen us all adapt to working out from home, for at least a period of time, you might be wondering how the program is different to whatever video workout you’re currently doing. Apple Fitness+ is designed to be personalised to you, to keep you motivated. The workouts, which can be accessed via iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, are intuitive, so the program will match them based on your previous selections, while also allowing you to filter via workout type, trainer, duration or music.
Then there’s the technology. When a workout is selected and started, the correct workout type will automatically start on your Apple Watch too. Throughout the session, other metrics are shown on the screen too, including heart rate, countdown timers and even a Burn Bar which shows how your workout compares against anyone who has done the same workout previously. The Activity rings from Apple Watch also appear on screen, helping you to close those rings.
This is all part of the new Apple Watch Series 6’s incredible wellness and fitness capabilities, including a new Blood Oxygen sensor which will roll out globally in due course. This feature is worth noting because some Covid-19 patients have been proven to suffer low blood oxygen levels. From an aesthetic standpoint, the new iteration of the watch includes a stunning array of colours, including blue, silver, space grey, gold aluminium, graphite and more, while three all-new band styles come in a wide range of hues, including the Solo Loop, make it easy to customise the piece to your personal style. There’s new colours in the Nike Sport bands and don’t worry—Apple Watch Hermès is back too. This year, Apple Watch Hermès offers stainless steel cases in silver or space black with Single or Double Tour styles in brand new colours. There will also be Hermès Attelage Single Tour and slimmer Attelage Double Tour bands hitting stores, plus a new Hermès Circulaire watch face.