In an effort to help its customers keep track of their fitness activities when at the gym, Apple is partnering with the gyms themselves to launch the Apple Watch Connected program.
Because fitness trackers tend to rely on GPS to detect distance travelled — like going for a jog or bike ride — using it on gym equipment can often make it tricky for the devices to accurately track the wearer’s accomplishments.
The new Apple Watch Connected program is Apple’s attempt at helping to solve this problem. The program is a partnership with gyms — at launch there will be four partners with more joining later on — that includes the use of Apple-compatible GymKit machines, the Apple Watch, an iOS app, and incentive programs.
The GymKit program launched in 2017 and involved Apple working with equipment manufacturers to replace the 30-pin iPod mounts with newer technology that works with the more sophisticated workout detection found in the latest generations of the Apple Watch and WatchOS. There are currently between 50,000 and 100,000 GymKit machines in use.
Each partner location will be able to decide how they participate in the program, including whether they use the GymKit equipment or not, and what sort of incentives they choose to offer.
The partners at launch will be Orangetheory, Basecamp, Crunch Fitness, and YMCA, and the locations that are actually a part of the Connected program will be limited to a handful of areas including Manhattan and the Twin Cities.