Announced in September and launched last December in English-speaking countries (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand), Apple Fitness + is not yet available in France. But we couldn’t resist trying the latest Made in Cupertino service, especially in these times of confinement and restrictions.
As a warm-up, remember that Apple Fitness + is a kind of virtual gym. For $ 9.99 per month (or $ 29.99 per month with the Apple One Premier subscription), this service offers you many sports classes from different categories (HIIT, bodybuilding, fitness, dance, yoga, meditation, etc.) .
There are also sessions that require professional equipment (rowing machine, court mat, indoor bike), which will be very practical when the royal halls reopen. Apple’s idea is quite simple, put your iPhone down, put on your headphones, and listen to the instructions, all with an Apple Watch on your wrist.
For a month we tried Apple Fitness + at the rate of one session a day (although we must admit that we have not always been true to that promise). Here is our opinion on this service, on the contents and on the form, in written version and in video.
Excellent teachers and good use of the clock
Available on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV (and not Mac, which we find absurd), Apple Fitness + can only work if you have an Apple Watch. Otherwise, the “Form” application will not appear on your device and you will not be able to subscribe.
In case you are the owner of the Californian connected watch but have forgotten it at home, you can stop your session for the day. Fitness + only works if the watch is on your wrist. It’s a shame, but we’ll talk about it a little later.
As for the Apple Fitness + interface, it’s pretty straightforward to understand. On top, there are shortcuts to all the categories the platform offers.
The rest of the application is a mix of recent courses (Apple adds more every week), the most followed, the programs (there are still very few, Apple has not yet addressed this part) and the list of all teachers , in order to choose your coach directly (special mention to Bakary and Jamie-Ray, our favorites).
In each category you can also refine the results by choosing a teacher, a duration and the type of music you want. In fact, even without an Apple Music subscription, Apple Fitness + offers you playlists from the streaming platform. The teachers dance and evolve on it, which makes the lesson more lively (you can listen to your music if you wish).
As often in this type of program, dThere are three teachers in each course. The one in the middle speaks and guides the dance, the one on the left makes the movements suitable for beginners and the one on the right makes it more difficult for those who want to surpass themselves. This approach, borrowed from courses such as those of LesMills, allows you not to choose a difficulty level before starting a session, and to be able to change along the way. It is an excellent idea for encourage them not to give up and to return regularly. Everyone adapts their effort according to the shape of the day.
At the top left of the screen, Apple Watch information is displayed (heart rate, number of calories consumed, comparison with other people who have done this exercise).
At the top right is the clock activity circle and sometimes contextual information. When you change songs or the teacher asks you to check your heart rate, everything appears at the top right. Here too we are fans. Apple Fitness + makes the lessons interactive as it uses real videos. It is much nicer than a simple tutorial we could find on YouTube.
Conversely, Apple didn’t think you wanted to shine with friends or away the social network, it is impossible to take a screenshot or a screen recording to send to a friend, Apple protects everything with a DRM …
Overall, we have always really enjoyed the courses offered by the platform. The teachers are all very good, they give the impression of really addressing their students while they are in the studio and the proposed exercises are quite intense.
All lessons end with the sentence “don’t forget to close the rings”just to remind us that Apple Fitness + is above all a promotional product for the Apple Watch.
Basically, in our opinion Fitness + has only two flaws. The search by filters is too limited, for example it is impossible to request a lesson without accessories (when after 10 minutes, the teacher says to go get some dumbbells, you feel a bit stupid), and there is no story.
We happened to launch a course that we had already done, without realizing it.
We would also like Apple to launch long-term programs, such as 30 days, with one or two exercises per day, so that we don’t have to launch a random course every day. Aside from that, the service is truly excellent.
Apple blocked Fitness + too much
On the form, however, we are much more divided. If the quality of the images is excellent (all courses are shot in 4K HDR, this is the first time that you have marveled at the colors of a gym), Apple makes the mistake of making the use of Fitness + too complicated.
In fact, as we told you before, it is impossible to start a course without Apple Watch. Too bad, especially because to be recognized, the watch you use must be connected to the same iCloud account as the device you use, even if it is connected to the same iTunes account (but these may not be the same) …
It is also impossible to take classes with multiple people, Apple Fitness + limits its use to only one athlete. Another user can follow the session, of course, but their Apple Watch is useless. It’s too bad.
When it comes to device compatibility, the absolute limitation to iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs doesn’t make sense to us, especially since not all devices work the same:
- On the iPhone, the app Module appears automatically if a watch is paired. If, on the other hand, you have another iPhone in your family, it is impossible to install the application on it without another watch connected to it, even in the case of family sharing.
- On iPad, you need to download Module from the App Store … but the app only appears if an Apple Watch is linked to your iCloud account. If not, the App Store will tell you that your iPad is not compatible.
- On Apple TV, the application automatically appears on the home screen but it is impossible to start a session if your iPhone is not connected to the correct account. Apple TV will tell you to subscribe, even if you already are.
This great nonsense has often made us want to give up our session. We also wished there was a Mac app and a web version available to watch a lecture on a computer instead of on the small iPhone screen.
Ultimately, the easiest way to use Apple Fitness + on TV is to start a class on your iPhone / iPad and use AirPlay to send it to your big screen.
On an Apple TV, you will have all the indications of the Apple Watch. On a connected TV (Samsung, LG, Sony etc.), you will only have the video (no heart rate therefore).
Apple should really review its way of doing things and, why not, make Apple Fitness + accessible to anyone who wants it, with or without the Apple Watch. When paying for a service, why make it so complex to use?
Apple Fitness +, one day in France?
Today Apple Fitness + only speaks English. It is probably for this reason that the service is not available in France even though, thanks to our Canadian friends, all courses already have French subtitles.
We don’t really imagine Apple taking their spontaneity away from coaches by using VF voice actors, which leads us to believe that Fitness + won’t be coming anytime soon or, therefore, will settle for subtitles. Unless Apple goes to recruit teachers in French cinemas?
We can’t wait to see Fitness + land in France. At $ 9.99 a month or built into an Apple One bundle ($ 30 with iCloud, Music, Arcade, TV + and another service?), Apple’s Sports 2.0 service really has something that a lot of people enjoy.
We loved this service for what it offers, even though we really hated the way it does it. But by expanding the scope of Fitness +, Apple potentially holds its future bestseller.