Since Apple Watch first broke into the wearables market in 2015, it has been continuously redefining what a watch can do beyond tell time: Sleep track? Check. Monitor heart rate? Check. Become your exercise companion? Check. And in the most defining step since putting a ring on it with Activity, the smartwatch company just announced that by year’s end, Apple Fitness+ will definitively change the way Apple users work out forever. Suffice it to say that the $2.9 billion on-demand fitness industry has a new one to, ahem, watch.
In tandem with the announcement of Apple Watch Series 6 (from $399) and Apple Watch SE ($279)—both of which will launch on September 18, Fitness+ is meant to further integrate movement into your day in a more seamless way. The app will offer new content weekly in the form of wrist-access to 10 types of workouts, including HIIT, yoga, running, cycling, and strength training on Apple compatible devices like iPads, iPhone, or Apple TV. At launch, you’ll be able to sweat with 21 trainers Apple has already announced for Fitness+, including strength training coach Betina Gozo, dancer LaShawn Jones, and HIIT connoisseur Kim Ngo.
To help you incorporate other fitness modalities for the sake of avoiding injury and becoming the strongest athlete you can be, Fitness+ will offer complements to your routine. (Take three HIIT classes in a row, and Apple will definitely be sliding into your watch DMs with a suggested yoga class.) To that end, and because we’re all slowly learning that recovery rounds out any good fitness routine, Fitness+ also offers a guided mindful cooldown for the moment you cross the finish line on your run or unstrap from your stationary bike. You can also take all the complexity out of designing your own week of movement and let Fitness+ create a schedule to follow all week long. It’s that simple.
On top of becoming the workout of choice for 2020 and beyond, Apple Watch’s newest iteration also offers some pretty cool features, such as the ability to test your blood oxygen levels in just 15 (yes, 15) seconds. That’s pretty damn cool because, as the Cleveland Clinic explains, “oxygen is the fuel your body needs to function. Insufficient oxygen in the blood can interfere with the function of the heart and brain.” It’s an especially relevant metric in 2020 as COVID-19 patients tend to have very low blood oxygen levels.
A more attuned VO2 max monitor also joins Apple’s library of self-metrics you can access straight from your watch. The number tells you how much oxygen your body can use during activities. “It can indicate a person’s essential aerobic capacity or the maximal working heart rate of that individual,” Brandon Hirose, a master trainer at Crunch Gym in New York City, previously told Well+Good.
Beyond Fitness+, VO2 measurement, and blood oxygen monitoring, Apple Watch Series 6 will also come pre-programmed with the much anticipated sleep-tracking function that Apple announced in early July as part of WatchOS7. Strapped to your wrist, there will be behavior-changing bedtime and wake-up functions to make sure you nail those seven-plus hours of sleep that one-third of Americans miss out on each night.
In 2020, a watch can absolutely be your workout studio and your heart health companion and your speed-dial access to Mr. Sandman—and Apple Watch Series 6 just proved it.
This post was originally published on September 16, 2020; updated on September 17, 2020.
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