For years Apple Watch customers have been walking and running to meet step counts just for the satisfaction of meeting their goals. Now Apple is giving them better reasons to get sweaty.
Apple is embedding itself more deeply with fitness brands through a new rewards program called Apple Watch Connected. Starting Thursday, members of Crunch Fitness, greater Twin Cities YMCA, BaseCamp, and Orangetheory who own Apple Watches will be able to accrue gift cards and discounts.
Peloton and Orangetheory so that members could monitor their heart rate while they worked out. It also quietly launched a rewards program with Crunch Fitness that allowed the latter to offer its patrons $3 per week for completing fitness goals. Now, Apple Watch Connected will allow any fitness entity to integrate with the Apple Watch so members can track their health and earn rewards.
To participate in Apple Watch Connected, gyms must have equipment enabled with GymKit, a platform that lets users sync their Watch to cardio machines and collect their workout data. GymKit first launched two years ago, and since then Apple has worked with manufacturers like Technogym, Life Fitness, and Octane Fitness to incorporate hardware and GymFit code into their treadmills, stair climbers, and other equipment. It works like this: Users can scan their watch against an NFC reader on a piece of equipment anytime during their workout to capture their progress and send it to their Watch. It’s particularly useful for garnering metrics the Watch might have a hard time calculating on its own, like how many steps were taken on a stair climber, for example, where a person stays static in space.
At Crunch Fitness, goals are set each week and members can earn credits toward their membership—as much as $15 a month. The new program will start at 17 locations with plans to encompass all 350 locations nationwide by the end of the year. Going forward, Crunch Fitness will only purchase new cardio equipment that has GymKit as part of its offering, so that eventually all of its cardio equipment has that feature.
CEO Tim Cook said there were more than 3 billion Apple Pay transactions made during the fourth quarter.
Initially, the Connected Watch program will only be available at select locations for all of its brands, but will slowly be expanding throughout 2020.
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