Announced in September and launched last December in English-speaking countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand), Apple Fitness + is not yet available in France. But we couldn’t resist the urge to try 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 many sports classes from different categories (HIIT, bodybuilding, fitness, dance, yoga, meditation, etc. .).
There are also sessions that require professional equipment (rower, court mat, indoor bike), which will come in handy when the real rooms reopen. Apple’s idea is quite simple, put down your iPhone, put on your headphones and listen to the instructions, all with an Apple Watch on your wrist.
For a month, we tried out Apple Fitness + at the rate of one session per day (although we must admit that we have not always lived up to this promise). Here is our opinion on this service, in substance and in form, in written version and in video.
Excellent teachers and good use of the Watch
Available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV (and not Mac, which we find outrageous), Apple Fitness + can only work if you have an Apple Watch. Otherwise, the “Shape” application will not appear on your device and you will not be able to subscribe.
In the event that you are the owner of the California connected watch but have forgotten it at home, you can skip your session of the day. Fitness + only works if the watch is on your wrist. It’s a shame, but we’ll talk about that a bit later.
As for the interface of Apple Fitness +, it is quite simple to understand. At the top, there are shortcuts to all the categories offered by the platform.
The rest of the application is a mix between recent courses (Apple adds more every week), the most popular ones, 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. Indeed, 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 course more lively (you can if you want to listen to your own music).
As often in this kind of program, dn each class, there are three teachers. The one in the middle speaks and leads the dance, the one on the left makes movements suitable for beginners and the one on the right makes the most efforts, for those who want to surpass themselves. This approach, taken from courses like those at LesMills, allows you not to choose a level of difficulty before starting a session, and to be able to change along the way. It is an excellent idea for encourage not to give up and come back regularly. Everyone adapts their effort according to the shape of the day.
At the top left of the screen appears information from the Apple Watch (heart rate, number of calories consumed, comparison with other people who have done this exercise).
At the top right is the watch 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 classes interactive while using real videos. It’s much nicer than a simple tutorial that you could find on YouTube.
In contrast, Apple didn’t think you might want to shine with its friends or on the social networks, it is impossible to take a screenshot or a screen recording to send it to a friend, Apple protects everything with DRM …
Overall, we have always enjoyed the courses offered by the platform very much. The teachers are all excellent, give the impression of really talking to their students while they are in a studio and the exercises offered are rather intense.
All lessons end with the phrase “Do not forget to close your rings”, just to remind us that Apple Fitness + is above all a promotional product for the Apple Watch.
Basically, Fitness + has only two flaws in our opinion. The search by filters is too limited, for example it is impossible to request a lesson without an accessory (when after 10 minutes, the teacher says to go get dumbbells, you feel a little stupid), and there is no has no history.
We happened to launch a course that we had already done, without realizing it.
We would also like Apple to launch programs that are sustainable, for example 30 days, with one or two daily exercises, so that we don’t have to start a random class every day. Other than that the service is really excellent.
Apple has locked Fitness + too much
On the form, however, we are much more divided. If the quality of the images is excellent (all lessons are filmed in 4K HDR, this is the first time that we marvel at the colors of a gym), Apple makes the mistake of making use of of Fitness + much too complicated.
Indeed, as we told you earlier, it is impossible to launch a course without Apple Watch. This is a great pity, especially since in order to be recognized, the watch you are using must be logged into the same iCloud account as the device you are using, while also being logged into the same iTunes account (but these may not be the same) …
It is also impossible to take courses with several people, Apple Fitness + restricts its use to a single 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, outright limitation to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV doesn’t make sense to us, especially since not every device works the same:
- On iPhone, the application Form automatically appears if a Watch is paired. On the other hand, if 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 have to download Form from the App Store… but the app only appears if an Apple Watch is connected to your iCloud account. Otherwise, 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 have.
This big nonsense often made us want to give up our session. We would also have liked a Mac app and a web version to be available to watch a course on the computer instead of the small screen of the iPhone.
In the end, the easiest way to use Apple Fitness + on your 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 from the Apple Watch. On a connected TV (Samsung, LG, Sony etc.), you will only have video (therefore no heart rate).
Apple should really review its way of doing things and, why not, make Apple Fitness + accessible to all those who want it, with or without Apple Watch. When you pay for a service, why make its use so complex?
Apple Fitness +, one day in France?
Today, Apple Fitness + only speaks English. It is undoubtedly for this reason that the service is not available in France even if, thanks to our Canadian friends, all the courses already have French subtitles.
We don’t really imagine Apple taking away the spontaneity of coaches by employing VF voice actors, which makes us think that Fitness + is not going to land anytime soon or, therefore, will be satisfied with the subtitles. Unless Apple is going to recruit teachers in French theaters?
We can’t wait to see Fitness + land in France. At 9.99 euros per month or integrated into an Apple One bundle (30 euros with iCloud, Music, Arcade, TV + and another service?), Apple’s sports service 2.0 really has something to appeal to many people.
We loved this service for what it offers, although we hate a lot about the way it is done. But by broadening the scope of Fitness +, Apple potentially holds its future bestseller.