Why the iPhone Is Getting the Apple Fitness App

Apple wants to be be the data backbone of healthcare. The 2022 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) underscores this reality.

On June 6, Apple announced at WWDC that its Fitness app will be available on the iPhone. You’ll no longer need to own an Apple Watch to use the app.

This move is part Apple’s strategy of being the data backbone of healthcare through hardware, software, and relationships with healthcare providers such as hospital networks to monitor and share data.

As part of this, Apple has pursued a somewhat confusing approach of offering three types of wellness apps available to owners of either the iPhone or Apple Watch: Health, Fitness, and Fitness+. Health is probably the best known app because it’s available on both devices. Health syncs with the most popular health apps and stores all of your personal data in a single spot. Fitness is Apple’s exercise tracking app. Fitness gamifies personal fitness by visualizing as rings your progress in three categories: standing, exercising, and moving (calories burned). Each time a person achieves a personal goal, a ring closes, and the user is rewarded with a celebration on their Apple Watch. Fitness+ offers all of the above plus a catalog of guided workouts for a fee.

Since launching the Apple Watch years ago, Apple has encouraged people to consider that device a wellness app. That’s why has made Health, Fitness, and Fitness+ available on the Apple Watch, with the iPhone limited to Health. That strategy has succeeded: the Apple Watch now outsells the entire Swiss watch industry. But the Apple Watch sells nowhere near the units as the iPhone. The iPhone accounts for more than half of Apple’s revenue.

Apple needed to give the Apple Watch something special to encourage people to buy it. But Apple needs to balance its wearables strategy against its healthcare aspirations while protecting the nest egg, the iPhone. That’s why the iPhone will get Apple Fitness going forward.

This does not mean that Apple is marginalizing the Apple Watch. In fact, Apple is rolling out features that make the Apple Watch a more powerful fitness app for people who are really serious about working out. For instance, the Workout app has been updated to provide richer metrics for measuring performance, as well as new training experiences to help users reach fitness goals.

According to recent McKinsey survey, the global health and wellness market has reached a market evaluation of $1.5 trillion and growing at a rate of 5%-to-10% per year. The spiraling costs of healthcare are a strong deterrent for people to take care of their health. And the pandemic has made people even more conscious of managing their health. Apple has supplied everyone with Trojan horses for wellness: watches and phones. Apple’s software is unleashing an army of tools to help.

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