A week after introducing Time to Walk, Apple has released another software update aimed at expanding its Fitness+ footprint. With today’s arrival of the developer seed of watchOS 7.4 and iOS 14.5, the company is adding a new feature that will make it possible to stream workouts to an AirPlay enabled TV — with some caveats.
Users can stream audio and video from the company’s subscription-based fitness app to AirPlay 2-enabled sets. That’s a nice addition for those without an Apple TV, and users looking to bring the service on the road with them via compatible hotel TVs (when people start staying in hotels again).
The biggest difference here is that metrics won’t be displayed on screen. That means you lose things like your rings, calories burned, etc. They’ll have to rely on the connected Apple Watch and iPhone or iPad for that information. Not the end of the world, but they’re an important part of the Fitness+ experience. Apple no doubt wants to continue to incentivize its own hardware ecosystem, while working to grow the exercise app.
Fitness+ arrived at the right time for the company, as COVID-19 has caused many of us to let our gym memberships lapse in favor of at-home workouts. There’s a question of sustainability of home workouts in general, with the roll out of numerous vaccines.
Maintaining and continuing to grow these applications will require flexibility. When I spoke to Apple about Fitness+ last week, the company noted that it envisions people bringing the app with them on the go. That could mean doing a Fitness+ workout on the iPad at their gym or finding a way to pack the experience in a bag and use it during their travels.
The feature is currently available as part of the developer seeds of the new watchOS and iOS versions, and should be available to consumers when the final versions go live.