Back in September Apple announced that it would be starting its own fitness service, but Apple only revealed that it would launch before the end of 2020.
Apple has now announced that Fitness+ will launch on Monday 12 December.
What is Apple Fitness+?
Apple Fitness+ is a subscription training service for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, incorporating workout metrics from Apple Watch. Subscribers gain access to trainer-led studio-style workouts in 10 forms of training: walking, running, cycling, rowing, strength training, core, interval training, yoga, dance and 'Mindful Cooldown'.
(There have been some reports of iPad owners struggling to run the service. Here's how to install the Fitness app on an iPad.)
Apple has gathered together a team of trainers to produce these training videos, which it says are "fuelled by inspiring music from today’s top artists designed to keep users motivated from start to finish."
Apple says that an Apple Music subscription is not required to enjoy the music in Fitness+, but if you have an Apple Music subscription you can download Fitness+ workouts to listen anytime.
Workout data from the Apple Watch is synced with the iPhone so subscribers can view videos and information about the workout. When a workout is completed, users will see statistics such as speed, heart rate and calories burned.
The Apple Watch will display motivating animations during key moments in the workout, for example during tough intervals, a timer will show a countdown to help users get through. Plus when the workout is completed, or the trainee closes their Activity rings, they will see a 'celebration' on the Watch face. The Watch will also show heart rate metrics when the trainer says to check them.
Apple says that the service will also offer tailored recommendations for the next workout, based on the subscribers goals and achievements so far. Anyone who's spent half an hour searching for suitable workouts on YouTube will appreciate this feature - assuming of course that it works well.
Users will be able to use Activity Sharing to share details of their workouts with friends and family. It will also be possible share details about completed workouts on social media channels.
Every week a new training video will appear in the app, almost like new episodes on Apple TV+.
Apple promises to introduce even beginners to exercise and teach them the correct movements. This alone could justify the service: if you don’t do a squat properly, for example, the exercise is of no use and can even be harmful to your joints.
Fitness+ release date
Fitness+ will launch on Monday 14 December - at least in English-speaking countries: the UK, the US, Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Why other countries are not included despite the fact that the content is completely owned by Apple and doesn't seem particularly language-dependent is unclear - there are trainer instructions on each video, but this wouldn't be especially difficult to translate.
A subscription costs £9.99/$9.99 per month or £79.99/$79.99 for a year. Anyone who buys an Apple Watch Series 3 or later in the Apple Store will get access to a three-month free trial.
The service will also be included in the premium version of the new subscription package Apple One.
You can see more information about Fitness+ on Apple's website.
Do I need an Apple Watch for Fitness+?
You do. Apple says Fitness+ requires Apple Watch Series 3 or later paired with iPhone 6s or later, or iPhone SE, with watchOS 7.2 and iOS 14.3.
If you're wondering what's coming next, you may like to read about an analyst's prediction that Apple will soon launch more 'Plus' services.