It’s official: Apple’s Fitness+ streaming service will finally be available starting December 14. For $9.99 per month (or $79 per year), the streaming service offers tons of workouts based on a variety of skill levels — all of which can be done from the comfort of your own home.
With the pandemic still in full swing, you’re probably wondering whether or not hitting that subscribe button is a good idea.
But simply owning an iPhone isn’t enough to grant you access to Apple’s new fitness club. You’ll also need an Apple Watch and maybe an iPad, and you might also want to throw in an Apple TV, and perhaps even a whole damn treadmill while you’re at it and, well, you get the idea.
Sure, that $10 monthly subscription looks tempting (especially since it can be shared with up to six family members for the same price), but the cost for the ideal Fitness+ setup adds up. To prove this, we’re going to break down all the accessories you need in order to break a sweat with Apple’s instructors and specially curated workouts.
1.) An Apple Watch to track your metrics
Like I said earlier, you can’t use Fitness+ without one of Apple’s very own smartwatches. Throughout each workout, the Apple Watch tracks your heart rate and calories burned while also displaying the metrics in real time on your screen.
But here’s the thing: it only works with Apple Watch Series 3 or later.
So, that means you’re spending at least $200 for the third-generation model. The latest Series 6 is more expensive, with a $400 starting price. There’s also the budget-friendly Apple Watch SE, which starts at $279 if you don’t need fancy features like an ECG reader or always-on display. And, even though Apple discontinued the Series 5 smartwatch, you can still find it at stores like Best Buy or Amazon for about $320.
It’s worth nothing that if you do purchase a Series 3 or later, you’ll automatically get three months of Fitness+ for free.
2.) An iPhone to use said Apple Watch
Now, in order to use that Apple Watch you’re required to have an iPhone — you know, because of the company’s very closed ecosystem. But since you need an iPhone that runs iOS 14, you’ll have to make sure you’re on the iPhone 6S or later.
Apple released five shiny new iPhones in 2020 alone. If you’re in the market for a new one, you can choose between the second-generation iPhone SE (starting at $399), iPhone 12 (starting at $799), the iPhone 12 Pro (starting at $999), the iPhone 12 Pro Max (starting at $1,099), or the iPhone 12 Mini (starting at $699). But Apple is still keeping its older iPhone 11 and iPhone XR in the mix, which start at $600 and $499, respectively.
Regardless, if you’re getting a new iPhone specifically for Fitness+ and the Apple Watch, you’ll find yourself dropping an additional $400 or more.
3.) An Apple Music subscription, if you really need it
For its guided workout sessions, Apple curates specific playlists using Apple Music. Thankfully, you don’t have to be subscribed to the music service in order to use Fitness+, allowing you to save some money throughout this entire process.
But if you want to download the workout playlists to listen to offline, you have no choice but to subscribe. As far as pricing goes, Apple Music costs $9.99 per month or $14.99 per month for a family subscription (up to six people). But you do get three months free listening before Apple starts charging you.
4.) An iPad for a bigger display
Staring at your small phone screen while working out can become uncomfortable after a while. But other than your TV (which I’ll get to later), you’ll probably want to invest in an iPad for that full screen view.
Fitness+ is compatible with the iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air 2, iPad Air (3rd generation or later), and the iPad mini 4 or later. So, if you have an older iPad that you’ve been holding on to then you’re in luck and most likely won’t have to upgrade to access your workouts.
But those of you looking to invest in a new one have the following options: iPad (8th generation) starting at $329, iPad Air (4th generation) starting at $599, iPad Pro (2020) starting at $799, and the iPad Mini starting at $399.
5.) Apple TV for an even bigger display
I’m not judging — if you want a screen that’s bigger than an iPad to follow along with these exercises, I totally get it. Not having access to a gym for almost a year now has made me realize the next best thing is clearing out your living room and streaming your workouts on a giant TV.
But in order to access the Fitness+ app, you’ll need to purchase an Apple TV device. That’ll run you anywhere from $149 for the HD version all the way up to $179 for the 4K model. Sure, it’s pricey, but both models are much cheaper than any of the aforementioned iPads.
6.) Some additional fitness equipment
The FAQ section of Apple’s site indicates you might need even more special equipment:
It depends on the workout you choose. While many don’t require special equipment, for some you need things like dumbbells, a yoga mat, a stationary bike, a rowing machine, or a treadmill.
I don’t know about you, but the equipment listed up there has a wide range when it comes to pricing. You can buy dumbbells for as low as $15 whereas a “cheap” treadmill runs for about $600.
Of course, you might’ve already accumulated most of these things over the last eight to nine months so you won’t have to worry about an additional expense. But if you don’t have any equipment at all, or just don’t want to spend more money, you could just stick with the available floor workouts.
And the grand total is …
Even though I am absolutely awful at math, I took it upon myself to add up how much it would cost to start from scratch with Fitness+.
If someone were to purchase the least expensive accessories mentioned above, they’d be looking at:
Fitness+ subscription: $9.99
Apple Watch Series 3: $200
iPhone SE (2020): $399
Apple Music: $9.99
iPad (8th-generation): $329
Apple TV: $149
They’d be spending a total of about $1,097, and that’s for the “budget” devices out of Apple’s lineup.
I know that a lot of Apple loyalists already have most of these devices so it’s highly likely that Fitness+ will just be a nice little add on to their existing ecosystem. But for those who are only starting out with an iPhone, it can get a bit confusing.
Of course, you’ll also get by just fine with just an iPhone and an Apple Watch — which will cost you at least $620 (for the iPhone SE, Series 3, Fitness+, and Music subscriptions). But if you plan on exercising at home, you’ll want that ideal setup to stop you from dreading those daily workouts.