Apple aims to extend watch user base with new Fitness+ services

Latest features are aimed at catering to an estimated 100 million users

Apple Watches on display at the Apple Store in New York City. Fitness+ is part of Apple’s services unit, which has, for years now, helped to anchor the company’s bottom line. Reuters
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Apple has introduced more features on Fitness+, as it aims to solidify the position of its services unit and dominance of the Apple Watch.

The new services include a workout programme, sound meditation theme and further collaborations with artists, aimed at catering to an estimated 100 million Fitness+ users, the iPhone-maker said in a statement.

The features will help users in “restarting after a long break, or looking to take it up a level with a new challenge”, Jay Blahnik, Apple’s vice president of fitness technologies, said.

Fitness+ is part of Apple’s key services unit, which has, for years now, helped anchor the company’s bottom line amid a decline in sales of its iPhone and the overall smartphone market.

In its latest fiscal fourth quarter, Apple posted a year-on-year net profit growth of 10.7 per cent – 15.6 per cent up on a quarterly basis – to more than $22.95 billion, driven by both services and iPhones.

Net sales of services in the three months ended September 30 hit $22.31 billion, up about 16.3 per cent annually.

That was “another strong performance in its services business”, senior analyst Jesse Cohen had told The National.

For 2022, health and fitness apps across all platforms registered revenue of about $4.12 billion, accounting for about 15 per cent of total health and fitness technology revenue, latest data from industry tracker Business of Apps showed.

Apple Fitness+ had the most users by active users at 100 million during that year, attributed to the popularity of the Apple Watch, the report said.

The Apple Watch has steadily maintained its lead in the smartwatch market since 2018. Its market share was 22 per cent as of the third quarter of 2023 – and shot up as high as 40 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 – data from Counterpoint Research and Statista shows.

Fitness+’s new workout programme, Strength, Core and Yoga for Golfers, features the rising Rose Zhang.

The Artist Spotlight Series, meanwhile, will feature new workouts from American singers Rihanna and Britney Spears, and Irish band U2.

And in the lead-up to Super Bowl LVIII, workouts will feature Usher, who will perform at half-time of the National Football League’s championship game.

The Time to Walk service, on the other hand, will feature new guests, with episodes to be available on Apple Podcasts. Fitness+ subscribers can access 50 episodes at launch on Apple Podcasts with the guest’s audio.

Updated: January 13, 2024, 1:04 PM