Apple has just rolled out a new gym partnership initiative called “Apple Watch Connected.” With it, qualifying gyms can reward users for meeting certain workout criteria with their Apple Watches, as well as provide a more seamless buying and class scheduling experience. The program is debuting in only four gyms in the U.S.—Basecamp, Crunch Fitness, Orange Theory, and YMCA—with only “select locations” for each. All four gyms will expand the program throughout 2020, and Apple plans to work with additional gyms in the future.
According to CNBC, it is free for gyms to participate, as long as they meet the following four criteria:
The gym has to have an iPhone and Apple Watch app that lets people track their fitness, see classes and log-in at the gym.
The gym has to allow members to “Earn with Apple Watch” by meeting certain goals (like working out a certain number of times per week). These rewards can vary by gym: Crunch gives you $3 to $4 in weekly credit, Orange Theory will offer gift cards to Apple and Nike, Basecamp Fitness will give you an Apple Watch Series 5 GPS model that you can earn back by participating in three classes a week for an entire year.
The gym has to accept Apple Pay, so you can buy stuff just using your Apple Watch.
The gym’s cardio equipment has to support GymKit, unless it’s exclusively a studio-style gym with classes where people don’t use a cardio machine for any length of time.
The benefit to Apple is obvious—it cements Apple Watch as the workout wearable, and makes for a more seamless experience for people who use their Apple Watch at the gym. For gyms, the program helps provide rewards that may help keep customers coming back.
As far as privacy goes, most high-tech gyms already track how often their customers work out, which machines are used most, and which classes are most popular, but this program will be opt-in and won’t share any data with Apple.