(Pocket-lint) - Apple Fitness+ joined the plethora of at-home fitness apps in December 2020, competing with the likes of Fiit, Peloton and even individual trainers like Joe Wicks and Bradley Simmonds.
The subscription service offers a number of studio-style workouts, across several activity types, though unlike others, it has been designed around the Apple Watch.
While it offers good foundations though, it is lacking features compared to its competition. Here's what we think is missing and keeping it from greatness.
Ability to filter workouts by target area
Apple Fitness+ allows you to select a type of workout: HIIT, Yoga, Core, Strength, Treadmill, Cycling, Rowing, Dance or Mindful Cooldown. It then allows you to filter the trainer, time and music. You can do all, some or none of these.
What if you could filter by the area of the body you want to focus on though, like you can on Fiit? Some days, we want to do a lower body HIIT session for example, other days an upper body stretch. We'd like to see the option to filter by target body area or part. There are some days we just don't want to squat.
Training programmes and challenges
There are no training programmes or challenges within Apple Fitness+ that bring you back day-in-day-out. Nothing to stop you doing a Fiit workout one day, Joe Wicks another, rather than all Apple Fitness+ workouts.
Training programmes or challenges would change that. Apple does the monthly Awards challenge for Apple Watch, such as complete 20 workouts in Febraury to earn the February Award, so why not have a challenge like 15 HIIT sessions on Fitness+ this month and get an Award badge for that too?
Or have a two-week yoga plan, or a month long core challenge like Joe Wicks is currently doing for February 2021?
This feature follows on from the training plan and challenges feature. Competitor app, Fiit, will keep tabs on the number of consecutive days and weeks you train using it, notifying you and spurring you on to do more.
We'd like to see something similar on Fitness+. There might be some days where doing a workout really is the last thing you fancy, but the streaks become a game, like closing those Apple Watch rings. We don't know about you, but we don't like breaking our flow when we are on a roll.
Fitness+ is a single tab within the Fitness app, so while you can scroll down and get different sections, like new workouts that week, there aren't other tabs within the Fitness+ section to flick between. To see your completed workouts, you have to go to the Summary tab and away from Fitness+.
We'd like to see a statistics section and history of workouts section somewhere. The most logical place would be your picture in the top right corner of the Fitness+ tab. At the moment, this just gives you gift card options and your name and email.
Instead, we'd like to see a list of the workouts you've done here, total number of workouts, total calories you've burned doing Fitness+ workouts, average heart rate throughout workouts, how many of each workout types you've done, for example. Plenty of options that could make the profile section way more exciting.
Workout feedback or review option
Ever started a workout, got half way through and just absolutely hated it? Maybe the trainer was just too enthusiastic for you, or they don't explain things in a way you like. Or you just don't enjoy the style.
We'd like the option to give feedback on the Fitness+ workouts we do when we have finished them. Not so we can be mean about the trainers, but so we know whether to avoid that style, workout or trainer in the future and the More of What You Do section gets adjusted accordingly. Fiit asks for a rating of the workout, followed by a rating of the trainer and music among other things and we'd like to see something similar on Fitness+.
There are quite a few trainers on Fitness+ already - 21 to be precise - but there could be a lot more. If you choose HIIT or Yoga for example, there are only three trainers available. Thankfully Strength has six, but our point is that some areas are weaker and there is definitely room for expansion.
We'd like to see more trainers added for variety. We like Jamie-Ray, but we probably don't want to do all five of our weekly workouts with him.
On-demand workouts are great. There's a lot to be said for doing a 20-minute workout before lunch in your living room and be able to just tap play and do it, no matter what time. It leaves very little room for excuses and if you're anything like us, that's a good thing.
There's something about live workouts though. Possibly the accountability or having to be ready for a certain time and knowing other people are simultaneously doing it with you. We'd therefore like to see live workouts on Fitness+ at some point, preferably with a leaderboard of some description too.
The Burn Bar shows you how you are doing in relation to how other people have done previously on that workout, but there would be some extra motivation in having a live leaderboard wouldn't there?
Time to run
Apple offers a feature called Time to Walk within Fitness+, which is basically an audio workout with a combination of talking from a specific celebrity, like Shawn Medes, and music per episode. Then there are treadmill workouts as a separate feature.
We'd like to see a running form of Time to Walk that incorporates what is offered within the treadmill workouts but audio only so you can take it for an outside run.
Heart rate zone information
Fitness+ is designed around Apple Watch so it has an advantage over competitors in that it knows the device people are using. During a workout, you can see your rings, along with your heart rate and the Burn Bar if you have chosen to keep it visible.
At the end of a workout, the data collected goes into the Summary section of the Fitness app, not the Fitness+ tab. You can then tap on the individual workout to see more information, but while it will present you with the active and total calories, your average heart rate, a heart rate graph and a heart rate recovery graph, there is nothing to tell you if you actually worked hard enough.
We aren't beginners, so we know that our heart rate really needs to be above 140bpm for us to be considered working, but there are beginners out there who might need more guidance. Apple could ask for more information (it might have it already if you put it into the Health app), such as your height and weight like the Fitbits and Garmins of this world, so we'd like to see an extension of the data, for example heart rate zones.
Now, this one is highly unlikely but we thought we'd add it in anyway. Fitness+ is probably not going to become compatible with Chromecast, Amazon TV or Sky Q like Fiit to enable you to stream it on your TV that way, but we can but dream hey?
Currently - though it is changing soon - the only way to get Fitness+ on your big screen is if you have an Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD running the latest version of tvOS. The iOS 14.5 software update - in beta at the moment - will add support for AirPlay 2 compatible TVs, making things a little easier, though the metrics won't appear. AirPlay is better than nothing, as it really is much easier to see a workout on your TV than on your iPhone or iPad, but we'd love to see wider casting support in the future.