Apple Fitness+ adds SharePlay for motivation and ‘smack talk’

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NewsTop storiesSharePlay makes Apple Fitness+ workouts more personal by letting you communicate with friends in real time.SharePlay makes Apple Fitness+ workouts more personal by letting you communicate with friends in real time.
Photo: Apple

Apple Fitness+ added group workouts and meditation sessions Monday, letting users communicate in real time with up to 32 other people. The new capability taps FaceTime’s new SharePlay feature, which works on iOS devices now and comes to macOS Monterey later this fall.

“It’s a really fun way to connect with friends and family, even trade some words of encouragement or friendly smack talk, while also making progress toward closing their rings,” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s vice president of fitness technologies, in a press release.

New features for Apple Fitness+

Centered on Apple Watch’s real-time biosensors, Fitness+ serves up prerecorded workouts in more than a dozen categories. A team of upbeat trainers leads sessions for beginners as well as experienced gym rats. The subscription service provides real-time feedback to users during workouts, showing heart rate, calories burned and progress toward closing Apple Watch’s fitness rings.

Like the Fitness+ Burn Bar, the new SharePlay implementation is designed to motivate users during workouts. Apple says SharePlay sessions will “stream completely in sync for every participant.”

How SharePlay works with Fitness+

Apple laid out exactly how SharePlay will let Fitness+ do long-distance group workouts.

“Fitness+ subscribers can use SharePlay to start a group workout or meditation with up to 32 of their friends and family while using FaceTime on an iPhone or iPad, and the selected Fitness+ session will stream completely in sync for every participant. Once on a FaceTime call, users will navigate to the Fitness app, select a workout or meditation, see their friends and family onscreen, and get started. SharePlay also works with Apple TV so users can follow the workout on a big screen while staying connected with friends on FaceTime using their iPhone or iPad. When working out in a group through SharePlay, users will see their metrics and progress toward closing their Activity rings, while also seeing and hearing friends. During a workout, when someone moves ahead on the Burn Bar or closes their Activity rings, everyone working out will be notified so they can celebrate together.”

Apple Fitness+ currently works with Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. The SharePlay feature will invite Mac users to the streaming workout party — eventually. Apple released macOS Monterey on Monday, but without the SharePlay feature. So this new Apple Fitness+ communication feature won’t work until “later this fall,” Apple said.

Apple Fitness+ expands into new countries

Apple will make Fitness+ available in 15 new countries starting November 3, 2021, the company said. The service will be available in English, with subtitles in Brazilian Portuguese, English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish.

Fitness+ is currently available in the Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The new countries coming in November: Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

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