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Apple Fitness+ brings the gym to your iPhone

A new kind of fitness experience

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With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing gyms and fitness centers to close indefinitely all around the world, many of us have been opting for home workouts with the help of popular YouTubers Chloe Ting and Blogilates, as well as popular apps like SWEAT, Nike Training Club, and Peloton.

At its September event, Apple unveiled what might make those said apps to lose business: Fitness+. At just US$ 9.99 per month, anyone can have access to studio-style workouts delivered by world-class trainers on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, while incorporating metrics from Apple Watch.

“With diverse studio workouts that are suitable for all ability levels, led by a phenomenal group of unique trainers, and an approachable program designed for beginners all the way through to the fitness enthusiast — as well as the flexibility to work out anywhere — there’s something for everyone,” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director for Health Technologies.

Apple Fitness+ will launch with the most popular workout types including Cycling, Treadmill, Rowing, HIIT, Strength, Yoga, Dance, Core, and Mindful Cooldown. Each workout is accompanied by music thoughtfully curated by the trainers.

READ: Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

Each week, the team of Fitness+ trainers will deliver fresh workouts from the studio across a range of lengths, disciplines, and music genres so there are always new workouts to explore.

If you’re just starting your fitness journey, an Absolute Beginner program is built into Fitness+ that will help coach the basics of movement and exercise, and give you an option to prepare for Studio Workouts.

If you have a an indoor bike or treadmill at home, you can use that with Fitness+, and many workouts can be done with no equipment at all or just a set of dumbbells.

For those who start a Treadmill session with Fitness+ on Apple GymKit-enabled machines, the workout will prompt users to tap to connect their Apple Watch so metrics are in sync.

Apple Fitness+ offers personalized recommendations by considering previously completed workouts and intelligently suggests new options that match the workouts you select most often, or something fresh so your workout stays challenging.

There’s also an intuitive filtering tool to choose what is most important to you when looking for a workout, whether it’s the workout type, the trainer, the duration, or the music. For Apple Music subscribers, favorite music from Fitness+ workouts can also be easily saved and listened to later, whether in a workout or otherwise.

When a workout is selected and started on iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, the correct workout type will automatically start on Apple Watch. During the session, the metrics from Apple Watch will be shown on the screen. For example, when the trainer says to check heart rate or begins a countdown timer, those numbers will animate on the screen. For those who like to push themselves with a little healthy competition, the optional Burn Bar shows how their current effort stacks up against anyone who has done the same workout previously.

At launch, customers can conveniently find Fitness+ in the tab located in the new Fitness app on iPhone, which will also arrive on iPad and Apple TV.

At launch, Apple Fitness+ will be available in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK, and the US.

Fitness+ will be available to Apple Watch customers as a subscription service. Everyone can try Fitness+ free for one month, or three months free with a purchase of a new Apple Watch.

Update as of December 8, 2020

Apple Fitness+ will officially be available starting Monday, December 14.

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Waze now supports Apple Music

Link those accounts

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Music always goes well with driving. However, because driving demands both hands on the wheel, controlling music playback isn’t always the most seamless experiences. Thankfully, a lot of navigation apps are expanding their support towards the most popular music streaming platforms right now. Today, Waze has announced that the app now supports dual functionality with Apple Music.

Of course, Apple Music isn’t the most popular platform today. Still, expanding support is always a win. With the new update, Waze users can now control their Apple Music content straight from the navigation app.

It does need a bit of setup, of course. Users will have to link their Waze account to their Apple Music account through the Audio Player setting on the app. Besides Apple Music, Waze also supports Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.

Though the streaming platform is already a staple especially for Apple users, Apple Music is doing more to create a viable plan against other streaming giants today, including a cheaper Siri-only plan that rids the need for an app interface. The service also increased the price of its student plan in several countries recently.

Both Apple Music and Waze are available for download on the App Store and on the Play Store.

SEE ALSO: Apple Music increases subscription price for students

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Apple Music increases subscription price for students

In the Philippines and Singapore

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In the Philippines, Spotify is still king. However, the platform’s dominance isn’t enough to deter other music streaming services from setting up shop in the country. Much like Spotify, these other platforms are ever-changing and prone to price changes. If, for example, you use Apple Music as a student, you’re likely affected by a recent increase in the country.

In South Africa, Twitter user @LVDNoff took to the platform to reveal an email from Apple detailing a price increase for Apple Music’s student plan. “Apple is raising the price of this subscription from US$ 1.49 per month to US$ 1.99 per month,” the email read. Though it’s not a huge increase, a few extra cents can put a larger dent in a student’s allowance. Unfortunately, the email didn’t reveal why an increase was tacked on. It also doesn’t reveal if regular subscriptions might see similar increases.

MacRumors, who first reported about the tweet, uncovered something else about the price hike, too. South Africa isn’t the only country getting an increase. According to the publication’s findings, the following countries are also seeing higher student prices: Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Africa.

The report doesn’t indicate specific increases for each country. However, Apple Music’s website currently shows a subscription worth PhP 75 per month. When the service first launched in 2018, students paid only PhP 69 per month.

SEE ALSO: Apple launches the Apple Music Voice Plan

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Spotify lets you blend your music tastes with K-Pop stars

Mix and match with BTS

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Last year, Spotify introduced an all-new feature for music discovery. Blend takes your and your friend’s music preferences and melds them into one shared playlist. The feature can ultimately bring two people closer together by introducing one to the other’s music. Now, Blend is getting a major update: a K-Pop expansion.

And no, it doesn’t just mean a sudden infusion of K-Pop songs for your Blend playlists. Users, especially K-Pop fans, can now blend their music preferences with those of popular K-Pop groups, including BTS, AB6IX, ENHYPHEN, NMIXX, Stray Kids, and TOMORROW X TOGETHER.

As always, using the feature on these groups will create a playlist combining your songs with their favorite artists. You won’t just get a helping of their songs; you’ll get the songs of the ones they like.

Further, you’ll get a share card saying how much your preferences match up to theirs. Users can share these cards directly to social media platform. Use them as badges of honor to proclaim how alike you are with your favorite group.

Blending with artists isn’t totally new, though. Earlier this year, Spotify also unleashed the feature to cover Western artists like Charli XCX, Lauv, and Megan Thee Stallion, among others. Expanding this feature taps into a huge market that Spotify has, the K-Pop fanbase.

SEE ALSO: Spotify launches new recommendation feature, Enhance

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