Orangetheory Fitness to support Apple Watch in 2020

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Orangetheory Fitness announced a new device and suite of apps that will integrate with Apple Watches in 2020. “OTbeat Link” will connect Apple Watches to the fitness studio’s proprietary heart rate monitoring system. Apple Watch wearers will be able to track their workouts without having to wear Orangetheory’s bulky heart rate monitors. 

Apple Watch-wearing Orangetheory club members will have access to all of the on-screen data that is typically available during workouts. They will also be able to see their results on their iPhones afterward. 

With the news, it appears Apple is pushing deeper into the fitness space. Earlier this month, the company struck a deal with the in-home road bike manufacturer, Peloton. The Apple Watch also sits at the center of that partnership, highlighting the device’s potential to evolve into a powerhouse health wearable.

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A Match Made in Heaven

Orangetheory Fitness is the perfect partner for Apple, as the tech giant looks to grow in the health and fitness world. Orangetheory is a fast-growing, buzzing brand that has exploded since its founding in 2010. Today, the brand has 1,300 studios across the country.

The studio encourages members to push through their fitness plateaus using a combination of external and internal motivators. During Orangetheory workouts, participants’ heart activity is displayed on screens along with others’ results in the class. Coaches encourage members to keep their heart rates in the “orange” and “red” zones, which serve as proxies for effort. 

On one hand, members are competing against themselves and pushing their bodies to reach certain fitness levels. On the other hand, they can gauge their effort against others in the class and “compete” to burn more calories or spend more time in target heart rate zones. 

With Apple, Orangetheory gains a powerful ally. In addition to the new OTbeat Link device, Orangetheory employees will use an iPad app called OTassist for various administrative needs. Coaches will also have a new iPhone app called OTcoach that will show member progress and other relevant data points. The new devices and apps will roll out during the first quarter of 2020. 

Apple Shaking up the Fitness Sector

Apple is making big moves in fitness. By partnering with companies like Orangetheory and Peloton, Apple is aligning itself with popular, mainstream players. Apple has also developed a toolkit for developers called GymKit that enables the Apple Watch to sync with smart gym equipment. Wearers can see their workout progress on any connected equipment through the Health Activity app.

Apple’s investments and partnerships are impacting the industry in different ways. Google recently reported that it would buy Fitbit for $7.35 a share, a far cry below the wearable tech company’s IPO back in 2015. Fitbit has reportedly struggled to compete with cash-rich companies like Apple, despite selling nearly 100 million devices.

Even with the Apple partnership, Peloton has struggled through the holiday season due to slow sales and a recent PR nightmare. The company released a controversial ad over the Thanksgiving holiday that critics say pushes a “sexist” and “dystopian” narrative. Peloton’s stock has yet to recover. We’ll see if Apple can help pull the company out of the trenches. 

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