Apple has announced plans to bring Apple Fitness+ to the iPhone from 24 October, meaning that the requirement of an Apple Watch will be dropped.
Since the fitness platform launched in 2020, it's only been available to those with an Apple smartwatch. With the arrival of iOS 16.1, though, that period of exclusivity will come to an end.
Providing iPhone users choose to update to the latest software, they'll soon be able to tap into 3,000 studio-style workouts and meditations directly from the phone for the first time.
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The Fitness app on iOS will be updated to include Fitness+ in the middle tab, giving users the ability to boost their Activity Rings, as well as view awards, activity sharing and coaching.
What's more, the iPhone will now offer the iconic Move Ring – the same as on Apple Watch – which will use the co-processor on the smartphone to estimate calorie burn.
This will work as you go about daily life, and builds upon the existing step tracking. This will also be accumulated during workouts, based on the average burn for your height, weight and age.
For real-time metrics such as heart rate, of course, an Apple Watch will still be required.
Perhaps even better news than this, though, is the fact that users without an Apple TV will soon also be able to stream workouts via AirPlay 2 to compatible Roku devices - with on-screen metrics set to show.
Apple mentions in its release that other third-party devices would also be in line to receive AirPlay support for Fitness+, but only Roku is namechecked at present.
With these two changes, then, Fitness+ is set to become much more accessible. And with the demand for home workout platforms seemingly on the decline - with once-popular services like Peloton struggling - this feels like a necessary move by Apple.
By dropping the Apple Watch requirement, it's almost a given that more users will be brought into the platform. And, in fact, it could actually lead to more uptake of the smartwatch, as some will no doubt want more in-depth insights.
Apple also announced a salvo of new content updates for Fitness+, including new Time to Walk sessions, a new yoga for runners hosted by legendary ultra runner Scott Jurek, and Taylor Swift music.
That will also be boosted by Apple's offer of three months free of Fitness+ with the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, as well, which it saddled alongside the announcement.
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