Apple bets big on health with new smartwatch and fitness subscription

 Apple announced a new fitness subscription and a blood oxygen sensor on the Apple Watch…

Apple bets big on health with new smartwatch and fitness subscription

  •  Apple announced a new fitness subscription and a blood oxygen sensor on the Apple Watch Series 6.
  • The new products showcase the tech giant’s bullish view on revenue opportunities within the health and fitness segment.

At its “Time Flies” event this week, Apple announced a new fitness subscription program and that the Apple Watch Series 6 will come equipped with blood oxygen monitoring, demonstrating the company’s commitment to expanding within the health and wellness industry.

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple bets big on health with Watch sensor and fitness subscription.

Business Insider Intelligence

Though health served as the central theme of the event, Apple also unveiled the eighth-generation iPad built with its in-house A12 Bionic chip, as well as a new iPad Air. 

Here are two of Apple’s biggest health-related announcements from the event: 

  • It debuted Fitness Plus, a subscription service for virtual fitness classes. Fitness Plus classes are offered through a standalone $10 per month subscription, an $80 annual subscription, or the highest tier of the Apple One subscription bundles that were also announced earlier this week. The prerecorded workout sessions are led by trainers, and Apple has committed to adding new content every week. The model resembles that of Peloton, which amassed over 1.1 million total subscribers to its $39 per month remote fitness classes for the quarter ended June 30, according to The Wall Street Journal. But while Peloton tethers its workout subscriptions to its at-home workout equipment, Apple is attempting to base Fitness Plus around the motion- and biometric-tracking capabilities of the Apple Watch. This allows for a lower cost of entry for the Fitness Plus offering, since the cheapest Apple Watches start at $200, compared with a Peloton stationary bike starting at $1,895. However, the lack of specialized workout equipment also means that Apple’s Fitness Plus service will compete more directly against the thousands of free workout videos available online. 
  • Apple also unveiled the Apple Watch Series 6, which includes a blood oxygen monitoring sensor. In the course of a 15-second reading, the Apple Watch uses infrared light and AI to assess the color of a user’s blood, which can be used as a proxy for blood oxygen saturation level. Apple is contributing to three studies to determine whether the blood oxygen measurement—in conjunction with other biometric readings—can be used to deliver clinical diagnosis for asthma, heart failure, and the coronavirus. In August, Adel Laoui, CEO of Princeton-affiliated machine learning company NeuTigers, told us that smartwatches will eventually be able to diagnose thousands of diseases, thanks to advancements in sensor hardware, machine learning, and edge computing. The blood oxygen sensor will help Apple expand its diagnostic capabilities moving forward—and deepen its inroads within the healthcare sector. Data collected on Apple Watches can be shared with healthcare providers and insurance companies to provide a more comprehensive view of patients’ health through electronic medical records.

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