Who does Apple think Fitness+ is for?
I’m really surprised Apple has failed to hit some of its key market segments with its Fitness+ service, which seems to have missed some important groups of users.
Why do I think this?
I’ve looked at the workouts Apple has made available, and think it has made an error in what it provides.
I think this because while the service seems to cover lots of bases for those of us who are already spending time on fitness, it doesn’t seem to offer much to slightly older people who want a little help getting on top of their personal fitness while sheltering at home — people like my Apple Watch using neighbour, who is sheltering at home as he’s vulnerable.
These are people who may not have any fitness equipment but who could really use the kind of help Fitness+ promises to provide as they try to make it through.
These are people who probably won’t benefit from yoga or high intensity interval training (at least, not at first) but would probably benefit from being guided through low impact aerobic and/or dance sessions.
It’s possible some of these exercises are available in the system, but I’ve not found them, which would expose a different problem in usability.
I feel that the service seems primarily focused on those who are not now and probably never have been couch potatoes.
That’s fair enough I suppose, but the error Apple has made here is that many of those wearing an Apple Watch are less active people searching for a little help to become more active while working from home.
Worse, many Apple Watch users will certainly have selected the product because they might be a little older and need heart monitoring, fall detection or other useful features likely to appeal most to people who are not beautiful, bronzed millennials who look good on exercise bikes.
That’s a shame as it means Apple users seeking a little help over the COVID-19 20209 Christmas Season who may have switched on the free trial of Fitness+ won’t find what they need.
They’ll be looking for low impact but simple and effective workouts they can try at home and end up finding they have no clue what that man is talking about when he tries to teach them yoga.
They’ll last two minutes and then never use the app again. (And I’m not convinced the fact users can’t at least choose the genre of their soundtracks will deliver a net positive).
Imperfect people need this most
I see the system has introductory routines, but I’d argue that it also needs to think in a more situational way.
So, for example, in terms of relevance to the times, people need introductory exercises for those working from home, they need low-impact exercises for people who don’t exercise, they need routines that feel like fun, rather than slightly over-sincere sessions that leave such participants feeling disempowered because they can’t keep up.
The service should offer specific routines for older people and post-pregnancy mothers, for example. These are people who really want — and need — to exercise at home.
Given the huge connection between physical activity and mental health, it makes so much sense to me for Apple to ensure users can easily find their way to routines they can easily accomplish in order to help build confidence that they can try other more advanced routines.
And I’m sorry, but that’s not what I see in Fitness+.
I think that’s a real shame, given that it’s pretty obvious other Apple Watch features appeal really strongly to demographics that could benefit from that kind of approach.
I could be wrong and I’ll keep kicking the service around during the free trial period in hope the company can address what I see as a huge lack in what it offers at this time.
The potential is obviously there, but the people most likely to benefit from this system seem to be those least served by it. Which is a shame, as it means this product doesn’t (yet) deliver the universality of most other products, in its first iteration it seems to ignore those who most need it.
So, if it’s not for those users, who is it for?