Revisited Review: Apple Fitness+

When I originally reviewed Apple Fitness+, I had this to say about the one fatal flaw that it had, which was the inability to use AirPlay to broadcast Fitness+ sessions to your AirPlay compatible TV:

But not being able to AirPlay to a big screen TV, which is inside Apple’s ecosystem without buying another piece of hardware is inexcusable. Especially, seeing as Apple’s main competition in this space which is the Peloton fitness app works with AirPlay with no issues whatsoever. For that reason, and that reason alone, when the three month trial is up for Apple Fitness+, we will discontinue it. Which is unfortunate as Apple has pretty much nailed every other aspect of this app, and they could dominate the fitness app space with ease. But they have to fix this one fatal flaw.

Well, Apple has now released iOS 14.5 and they have fixed this issue. But they also added some extra features to improve the user experience.

But first, let’s talk about this AirPlay thing.

iOS 14.5 introduced the ability to use AirPlay to broadcast a Fitness+ session to your AirPlay compatible. It’s simple enough to do and works very well. The only catch is that you can’t see any of your Apple Watch metrics on the TV which is a different experience than what you get with the Apple TV. The reason for that is that Apple has the Apple TV make a Bluetooth connection to your Apple Watch to get those metrics on screen. Seeing as I don’t know of an AirPlay compatible TV that has Bluetooth, Apple can’t make that work. And my wife and I are both fine with that as it’s a lot easier to do these workouts on a TV than on an iPhone. And it really doesn’t really take a whole lot of effort to look at your Apple Watch to see how hard you are working.

A new addition to the Apple Fitness+ workouts is Time To Walk. These are original episodes that last 30-40 minutes where users to immerse themselves in a walk alongside influential and interesting people as they share thoughtful and meaningful stories, photos, and music. Time to Walk can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere with Apple Watch and AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones. I tried a couple of these out via walks with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace and I very much enjoyed them. The visual content is prompted by haptic feedback and is glanceable on your Apple Watch without being distracting. The production quality is high and I found it to be extremely engaging.

Other changes to Fitness+ include:

  • New workouts specifically for women who are pregnant
  • New workouts for “Older Adults”
  • New workouts for beginners

All of those will help to broaden the appeal of Fitness+ and make it more approachable. The bottom line is that these are welcome changes and have made me change my mind about Fitness+. Prior to these changes there was a major flaw which was the lack of AirPlay support that made it not quite worth the $12.99 a month CDN. But now they’ve fixed that and added additional value that makes it totally worth that price. My wife and I will continue using Fitness+ as Apple has now truly nailed the home fitness experience.

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