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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is reportedly working on launching a bundled fitness-oriented service by October for the higher end, to push its services business into the fitness and digital health industry. Apple’s fitness app is set to move into the digital-only subscription fitness space dominated by Peloton and Nike, that provides access to a library of virtual fitness classes at a monthly price that is lower than your typical gym membership.
And while the details remain unclear, Apple’s fitness app sounds very much similar to Peloton (NASDAQ:PTON) offerings: a digital-only subscription offer that provides access to a content library of virtual fitness classes.
The question is: Will Apple be giving Peloton a run for its money?
Following the report of possible competition from Apple, shares of Peloton, the trendy at-home fitness service that streams classes to a spin bike or treadmill, fell more than 4% in premarket trading — but then quickly recovered — and closed at $65.65, up 2%. Though Wall Street analysts remain confident that the exercise-bike company can maintain its lead in the virtual fitness space.
During the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an upsurge in interest for at-home fitness classes due to gym closures and a preference to reduce contact between individuals. During the pandemic period, guided workout app downloaded grew 220% year-on-year globally.
In broad strokes, the plan echoes products from Peloton and Nike, which offer streaming classes at a monthly price that is lower than your typical gym membership — a trend that has recently gained popularity as people have been flocking to at-home fitness classes during the coronavirus pandemic that has forced temporary gym closures across the globe. As a result, Peloton shares have been up more than 120% this year thanks to a surge in sales for its bikes and treadmills, even garnering diehard fans that some would consider ‘cultish’.
Apple’s new fitness app will be available on the company’s devices, like the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, while Peloton’s offerings are tied to hardware devices such as bikes and treadmills. As compared to Apple, Peloton already offers thousands of on-demand classes in addition to live-streamed ones. Whilst the former has lots of groundwork to be done, given how its recent new video streaming platform does not have a particularly robust content catalogue. It is also unclear how much Apple’s fitness subscription service would cost. Though it might make sense to bundle it with the Apple Watch.
In Q3 2019, Peloton’s digital-only subscription revenue represented only 1% of total revenue, which means that the biggest value in digital subscribers for the company is their potential conversion to connected fitness subscribers.
“We think Apple’s new fitness app could compete vs. Peloton’s digital only subscription offer, but will have limited impact on Peloton’s connected fitness base that uses Peloton’s bike or a tread,” Bank of America Securities Analyst, Justin Post wrote. “Longer-term, it is unclear whether Apple would partner with other at-home fitness hardware companies, or create its own proprietary bike/tread, though we think former is more likely than the latter.”
One potential partnership could be ReflectFitness Asia, a one-stop portal filled with digital classes on demand or live-streamed, and supported with resources related to fitness, health, and exercise. Launching in October, ReflectFitness builds upon its community roots and creates a digital ecosystem that revolutionises the way people exercise and consume fitness related information. ReflectFitness aims to make exercising in the comfort of home, at the user’s own time, simple and convenient. Operating with paired accessories such as heart rate monitors to track output and progress after each workout, world-class Reflect instructors will provide live and on-demand one-on-one style workouts including Strength, Cardio, Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Kickboxing, and Zumba, all within the ReflectFitness ecosystem. The portal also allows users to compete with friends through community challenges and leader boards, creating an exciting platform to engage friends and family on the user’s fitness journey.
At this year’s Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung released 2 new phones, The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and vanilla Note 20 priced at S$1398 and S$1898, respectively. Our take? There are many other phones in the market that are cheaper and can provide the same experience (other than the S-pen), so pick those instead.
Both phones come with the latest and greatest Chipsets from Qualcomm and Samsung, with US variants coming with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus Chipset in the US and an Exynos 990 Chipsets in most other markets including Singapore.
The vanilla Note 20 comes with 8GB of LPDDR5 ram and 128GB of UFS 3.0 storage, while the Note 20 Ultra has 12GB of LPDDR5 ram paired with 128GB of an even faster UFS 3.1 storage. However, only the Note 20 Ultra has a dedicated microSD card slot for a maximum storage expansion of up to 1 TB.
Striaght out of the box, both phones come with a 25W fast charger which Samsung claims can top your phone up from 0 to 50% in just 30 minutes, and fast Wireless Charging 2.0 that delivers up to 15W of power. Speaking of charging, the vanilla Note comes with a hefty 4200mAh battery and the Note 20 Ultra comes with an even larger 4500mAh battery that should last you throughout the day. The phones are also still equipped with Samsung’s exclusive PowerShare Feature that allows you to charge other devices wirelessly by simply placing them on the back of your phone.
These batteries have to power the monolith 6.9-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X curved display on the Note 20 Ultra and a normal 6.7-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED flat display on the vanilla Note 20 with an Infinity – O hole punch for the selfie camera in the center. The most disappointing difference between the 2 models is the exclusivity of a high refresh rate 120Hz display on the Note 20 Ultra. At this price point, all phones should come with this feature — even Samsung’s own S20 released at the start of the year has a high refresh rate 120Hz display with a lower starting point. To make matters worse, many new budget phones like the One Plus Nord has a 90Hz FHD+ display and its price is just under half the price of the vanilla Note 20. Despite this, both displays have excellent color reproduction and are bright enough to use outdoors without any glare.
These displays are both protected by different variants of Corning Gorilla Glass — Gorilla Glass 5 on the vanilla Note 20 and the new Gorilla Glass Victus on the Note 20 Ultra. Tests by Corning have shown Gorilla Glass Victus surviving drops onto hard, rough surfaces from up to 2 meters. These phones also have glass backs and have a build of anodised aluminum like many other flagship phones out there. The Vanilla Note 20 is available in eye popping Mystic Green, Mystic Bronze, and Mystic Gray, while the Note 20 Ultra comes in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White.
New improvements have also been made to the Notes Signature feature, the S-pen. This year, Samsung has managed to drastically reduce the latency of the S-pen from 42ms down to just 26ms for the vanilla Note 20 and 9ms for the Note 20 Ultra to match Apple pencil levels of responsiveness akin to writing on physical paper.
Both phones have the same 10MP, f/2.2 80-degree FOV front facing camera that supports 4K 60 fps recording. On the back, both phones have triple cameras. They also share the same Ultrawide 12-megapixel F2.2 120-degree FOV camera perfect for group shots and landscapes. The two phones have different main and zoom cameras. The main camera on the Vanilla Note 20 is a 12-megapixel F1.8, Dual Pixel AF, OIS 79-degree FOV sensor capable of 4K 60 fps recording. Things get interesting with the Note 20 Ultras 108-megapixel F1.8, OIS 79-degree FOV sensor. This camera, also found on the S20 ultra, was plagued with video auto-focus issues that made it almost impossible to use when shooting video despite its 8K capabilities. To combat this, the Note 20 Ultra comes with a hardware solution, a new red laser auto-focus module that has appeared to solve the auto-focus issues. On a separate note, both phones can shoot in 8k 30 fps video. The Note 20 Ultra can do so on its main camera, but the Vanilla Note 20 uses the zoom camera instead, so to shoot 8k videos you have to zoom in 3 times. The zoom lens on the Note 20 ultra is a 12MP, f/3.0, telephoto camera, 5x Optical zoom sensor, and the vanilla Note 20 has a 64MP, f/2.0, telephoto, 3x Hybrid Optic zoom sensor.
Both the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are phones with excellent performance and design but with extremely steep starting prices that are just too expensive for what you’re getting. The screen on the Note 20 is a deal breaker for me, so unless you really need an S-pen, don’t buy the new Notes. Phones like the S20 offer comparable performance with its 120Hz Display and since they have been around for a while now, they probably would be a lot cheaper than the Notes.
While most people think fitness trackers are just to keep track of how many calories you burn daily, they’ve evolved to become mini health coaches that sit on your wrist. They still track your daily steps (don’t fret!), but they also monitor your sleep, measure your vitals, and more. If you’re looking into getting a fitness tracker, you’ll know that there are many options in this up-and-coming market, so we’re here to make this easier. From those who just want to track their general health to serious athletes training for marathons, there’s something for everyone.
Fitbit Charge 4
- Built-in GPS
- Tracks your steps, heart rate, and sleep
- Tracks blood oxygen
- Spotify Controller
- Workout tracking modes
- 7-day battery life
- Fitbit Pay
- No color screen
- Notification support
- Compatibility: Android/iOS/Windows
Best for: people living an active lifestyle looking for all-day fitness tracking and those who want to keep a close eye on their health.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is sleek and packs a punch with a bevy of features. Most options on the market boast similar features, but what makes this tracker ahead of the game is the GPS function, which offers accurate tracking of your runs and bike rides (so you can leave that phone at home!). It also boasts an SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen, which is definitely not something you find in every tracker in the market. A new feature included in this iteration, Active Zone Minutes, measures any activity faster than a brisk walk. Think of it as a simple heart rate monitor function – it encourages you to spend time at different levels of exertion, taking into account your age and fitness level. It also tracks and tags data from 20 different sports and is swim-proof – for someone who enjoys a variety of activities and ways to keep fit, this is for you.
Xiaomi Mi Band 4
- Tracks heart rate, steps, and sleep
- NFC enabled for contactless payments
- Waterproof + swim tracking
- Color screen
- 20-day battery life
- Compatibility: Android/iOS
- Connected GPS
Best for: people looking for a budget-friendly option that covers all the bases.
As of writing this, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 has been released globally, but not enough reviews have been done on it thus far – I’ll be talking about both in this section. This fitness tracker tracks basic things like steps and sleep automatically, and sports a 0.95-inch color AMOLED touchscreen display with 120 x 140 resolution. It can also track activities like running and cycling, but with a helping hand from your phone’s GPS. Fitness buffs will love the heart rate monitor functions as well as the 20-day battery life. The Mi Band 5 takes this up a notch with a bigger 1.1-inch AMOLED display with 126×294 resolution. With new features including 11 dedicated sport tracking profiles, enhanced sleep tracking, stress, and breathing features, Xiaomi is definitely leveling the field. For women, it also comes with female cycle tracking.
Garmin Vivosmart 4
- Impressive sleep tracking functions
- Pulse oximeter
- Heart rate monitor
- Automatic exercise detection
- Rep counting for gym exercises
- Step tracking
- 7-day battery life
- Compatibility: Android/iOS
Best for: non-serious athletes who want cool features.
While Garmin’s other products tend to cater to serious athletes, this slim number is meant for everyday folk trying to keep fit, with a suite of interesting features to enhance the experience. One of the coolest things about this tracker is a feature called body battery, which measures the amount of energy you have and helps you learn the best times to exercise based off of that data. Equipped with Garmin’s Move IQ software, you won’t have to worry about losing count of reps done when lifting, and with automatic exercise detection, you’ll never have to manually start a session again. Also coming with a pulse oximeter, this tracker can measure your blood oxygen levels through the night, making it able to detect sleep apnea.
- Built-in GPS
- Heart rate tracker
- 7 day battery life
- Notification support
- Advanced heart metrics
- Compatibility: Android/iOS
Best for: runners and cyclists who want function over fashion.
With both a heart rate tracker and an built-in GPS function, the Garmin Vivosport is by far the best option for outdoor athletes, runners, and cyclists. The best part? Even when using GPS features, the 7-day battery life from a single charge holds true. While water resistant up to 5ATM (50m), we don’t recommend using this for pool workouts as the tracker doesn’t come with a swim mode. With a small screen, you also won’t be able to see your live stats unless you squint. Despite being older than the other options on this page, its quality still holds true – it tracks metrics such as heart rate variability stress scores, your resting heart rate, fitness age estimates, as well as VO2 Max.
This article first appeared on Reflect Fitness.
Working out to music is so satisfying. The right kind of music motivates you to go for another set of lunges or to hit an extra mile on the treadmill. But nothing can be more annoying than the clinging wires that get in the way of your exercise or a pair of loose-fitting earbuds that drops out too often.
There are many headphones available in the market, but it can be difficult to find the best ones that offer a range of features and a secure fit. If you are planning to change your headphones, you might be considering sound quality, noise cancellation, battery life and durability, among other features, in your new pair. From full-size models to tiny wireless earbuds, we’ve come up with our picks of the best workout earphones in 2020.
Apple AirPods Pro
Loaded with advanced features and a sleek, comfortable design, Apple Airpods Pro are light years ahead of its old kin.
Getting the right-sized earbuds is important – large earbuds can cause discomfort while small ones fall out easily. Apple AirPods Pro gives you seven sizes to test and find your best fit. Once you have it on, you can the different modes available according to your needs. For instance, if you want to stay aware of your surroundings, you can keep them on transparency mode. Alternatively, the active noise-cancelling feature helps filter out unwanted sounds. Apple AirPods Pro also comes with an IPX4 sweatproof rating, so they are sweat resistant. However, you cannot use them while swimming.
Hardy enough for an intense and sweaty workout session, Jaybird Vista offers a comfortable fit and consistent connection. The blocky, rounded design and wingtip sleeves ensure that the earbuds stay in place while working out. Whether you’re running, climbing a rock or biking, they sit on your ears without wiggling out, and that makes them one of the most tried-and-trusted workout headphones. Having an IPX7 rating also means they can withstand an accidental dip in the water.
Another great feature of this model is that it supports quick charging. Charge them for five minutes and you can play them for an hour. Considering that they are not a voice-cancelling earphone, their voice isolation is pretty impressive. They are a good choice if you are looking for something that combines style and function.
If you are someone who loves to bash, looking for a workout headphone that works best for you, your search ends here. Premium Pitch 2.0+ technology guarantees premium audio experience with minimal vibration and dynamic bass. These bone conduction headphones come with a snug fit between the cheek and ear that allows you to enjoy the music comfortably while keeping your ears open and free. They come with an eight-hour playback time, which makes it suitable for log-time activities like running. The water detection cable is capable of detecting moisture and liquid residue and warns the user with a blue-and-red flashlight and a warning beep. These IP67 rated headphones are sweatproof and waterproof and remain intact even when submerged for thirty minutes at one-meter depth.
Be it your regular workout session or morning jog Sony WF-SP800N is the best music partner with a small size and convenient wireless design. Sony keeps their focus on the three major issues that other wireless headphones fail to address – comfortable fit, charging time and signal strength between the earbuds. Sony WF-SP800N earbuds are a great choice for fitness folks. They come with a pocketable charging case and claims nine hours of payback time. The earbuds feature touch-sensitive pads that allow you to switch between active noise cancelling and ambient mode. These IP55 rated headphones are washable. The wingtips feature a twist-to-lock mechanism to provide a comfortable fit.
Plantronics BACKBEAT FIT 2100
These waterproof and sweatproof earbuds are designed to be your best training partner even on rigorous outdoor workout sessions. It gives you seven hours of continuous playback. They allow you to personalize your work out by adding your preferences through the customization feature available on the BackBeat App. The sleek design ensures a snug fit during workout sessions.
Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
Created for people with an active lifestyle, these workout earbuds come with a slender design. The thoughtfully designed earbuds have small, medium and large ear tips that make it suitable to almost all users. Besides ensuring a snug fit, they also filter out unwanted distractions by external voice. These earbuds come with an IP57 rating that makes you confident to use them during outdoor activities. They are water-resistant and can remain submerged for about thirty minutes. However, they are not suitable for swimming. The interactive interface and practical features make them a good choice for fitness buffs.
Beats Powerbeats Pro
If you are looking for a pair of earbuds that offer superior isolation and sound quality, then Beats Powerbeats Pro is your best bet. It comes with a proximity detector that pauses the music when you pull them out of your ears. They come with IPX4 protection that makes it resistant to sweat and water. However, they are not suitable to use while swimming. They come with an amazing battery life of more than 10 hours between charging.
Many brands offer good workout headphones with the latest features and attractive designs. You need to consider your workout regime and requirements before choosing a pair. If you swim regularly, look for waterproof headphones. If you go for biking, you might want a good-fitting earphone that has a good battery backup. So, review your requirements and choose a model that fits you best.
This article first appeared on Reflect Fitness.