Apple Watch Support for Bike+ cut back due to GymKit implementation issues, says Peloton

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited April 16
GymKit syncs Apple Watch and exercise equipment metrics during a workout, a system Peloton did not use correctly for Bike+ Bootcamp.

Apple Watch can still be used for standard cycling classes on Bike+
Apple Watch can still be used for standard cycling classes on Bike+


One of the key features of the Peloton Bike+ is the inclusion of GymKit. This is a system that allows Apple Watch owners to track their workouts on select gym equipment with a tap.

On Thursday, reports of users complaining about a change to GymKit surfaced. Users could no longer pair their Apple Watch when taking the Bike+ Bootcamp course.

At first, speculation pointed to competitive reasons since Peloton would soon introduce a wearable fitness tracker. Peloton didn't offer much reason for the feature removal other than it had to comply with Apple's policy.

On Friday, AppleInsider and other venues received a statement from Peloton clarifying the matter:
Apple GymKit is designed to work with equipment-based cardio workouts. However, Peloton recently implemented GymKit with Bike Bootcamp, a multi-disciplinary class type that combines strength and cardio, which the feature does not support. Members can still use GymKit to sync their cycling-only workouts to their Apple Watch from the Bike+.
Apple says the Apple Watch isn't designed to track workouts that change focus mid-workout. During normal operation, if a user wants to shift from cardio to strength training, they have to manually change workouts within the Fitness app.

When users change workouts, one workout is ended, and another is started within the software. While the total workout time and calories burned are represented within the software, it doesn't treat the different categories as the same workout.

Apple Watch users can still use GymKit with their Bike+ when performing standard cycling classes. Peloton has stated that it wants to include Apple Watch in more workouts in the future.

Apple has a video workout program similar to Peloton's called Apple Fitness+. It integrates the Apple Watch using on-screen metrics. Notably, the workouts are all single-purpose as well and do not shift types mid-video.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,113member
    Sounds like they’re willing to work with Apple.

    Apple should have bought them long ago it may be too late now. 
  • Reply 2 of 28
    acejax805acejax805 Posts: 103member
    That's a big gaffe on Apple's fitness side. Engineers and designers should understand that circuit training, CrossFit, and other very popular workout programs integrate more than one type of workout within a workout. 

    Is this another example of Apple kicking the can down the road with incremental updates or an honest miss on the part of engineers and designers?
    larryjwCloudTalkinFileMakerFellerelijahg
  • Reply 3 of 28
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,792member
    Poor reporting by the media.
    omasouFileMakerFellerforegoneconclusionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 28
    omasouomasou Posts: 135member
    This makes more sense. Hopefully, we'll see and update from Apple soon. Looks like they missed or mis-prioritized a use case/feature.

    and good for them for not letting it slide and collecting incorrect data and providing users with misleading analytics.
    edited April 16 FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 28
    acejax805 said:
    That's a big gaffe on Apple's fitness side. Engineers and designers should understand that circuit training, CrossFit, and other very popular workout programs integrate more than one type of workout within a workout. 

    Is this another example of Apple kicking the can down the road with incremental updates or an honest miss on the part of engineers and designers?
    I agree with you on the point of different types of workouts occurring during the same workout. I think that is a separate issue, though.

    GymKit is a way for an Apple Watch and a piece of exercise equipment to share data. For instance, if I run on a GymKit treadmill the treadmill will share the distance I traveled with the watch, which will yield more accurate results than the watch estimating the distance. Getting off the treadmill to do a different workout should end that session, since the info sharing between the watch and the treadmill would now be irrelevant.

    Peloton using GymKit for Apple Watch users to do an exercise that wasn’t cycling wouldn’t make much sense.
    edited April 16 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    acejax805 said:
    That's a big gaffe on Apple's fitness side. Engineers and designers should understand that circuit training, CrossFit, and other very popular workout programs integrate more than one type of workout within a workout. 

    Is this another example of Apple kicking the can down the road with incremental updates or an honest miss on the part of engineers and designers?

    Apple seems to drive a lot of its health tracking from the medical establishment -- which tends to be rigid and narrow minded.

    This might be a wake up call for them.

    Another example:  many runners, particularly beginners or those recovering from injury, favor run/walk intervals where they switch back and forth based on either time or distance (Run 60 seconds, walk 30 secods, repeat).  But Apple for some reason gives no support for that.

    In this case, the Apple Watch does enable the ability to switch directly and immediately from one in-process workout to a new one simply by tapping "new" and the selecting the new workout from the list.   Since the Peloton is already communicating with the Apple Watch, it doesn't seem like it would be an overwhelming task for Apple to program for that.

    On the other hand, the Apple Watch does provide for "other" workouts which you can name.  There's no reason why peloton could not simply accept that as a workout.


    gregoriusmCloudTalkinFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 28
    darkpawdarkpaw Posts: 189member
    I think this is likely a case of Apple's Product Managers creating a bunch of development stories to implement, then putting them on-hold to get the initial version of the software out of the door. It's not beyond the ability of Apple's engineers to do this, but they are constrained by the levels above. You get this everywhere that software is being written; things are prioritised out of scope. We might see it sometime down the road, and I would expect it sooner rather than later.

    On the other hand, this is typical Apple. If you're doing any sort of workout and accidentally tap "End" instead of "Pause", there's no way to go back - the workout is ended; that's it, done, all over. There's nothing stopping Apple from adding a "Resume" button next to the "Done" button so you can carry on where you left off, but no.

    The user experience of most Apple software is getting poorer. Here's an example that I've bugged with Apple: you still can't edit the tags on anything in the Books app. I have an audiobook that releases a chapter each week, but if I add the new chapter to the Books app it adds it to a completely different book rather than simply a new chapter in the same book. I cannot edit the tags in the Books app so I have to use the Music app, but to do that I have to disable my Wi-Fi so Music doesn't upload it to my iCloud Library. If I don't disable Wi-Fi and I edit the tags while it's being uploaded, upon saving the changes the Music app reverts them to what's in the iCloud Library, i.e. none of my changes are saved. Terrible user experience. When I disable Wi-Fi, I can make the changes, then drag the file back out of Music and delete it from the library. I should not have to disable my Wi-Fi just to edit the tags on an audio file.

    Apple split iTunes into separate apps, and the new apps don't have all the standard features you'd expect. Editing the tags on any file should be standard.
    Beatsmuthuk_vanalingamswat671GeorgeBMacFileMakerFellertenthousandthingselijahg
  • Reply 8 of 28
    👋🏻 AppleInsider editors: what’s with this extremely misleading headline that isn’t even mentioned once in the story? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 28
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,157member
    I am lol’ing at the “Apple screwed up again!” crowd, who think it’s the Watch’s fault that a user stopped doing a cycle workout and switched to strength training along w/ their video workout, and expect the Watch to magically know that and switch you from a Cycling workout to Strength Training. That...doesn’t make sense. 

    The Watch offers multi-activity workouts, has since 2017. 


    Would it be cool if the Watch could switch auto-magically along w/ video workouts from Peleton in 2021? Uh, sure. Is it a gaffe that it doesn’t? No, no it isn’t.
    edited April 16 Happy_Noodle_Boy
  • Reply 10 of 28
    swat671swat671 Posts: 67member
    I am lol’ing at the “Apple screwed up again!” crowd, who think it’s the Watch’s fault that a user stopped doing a cycle workout and switched to strength training along w/ their video workout, and expect the Watch to magically know that and switch you from a Cycling workout to Strength Training. That...doesn’t make sense. 

    The Watch offers multi-activity workouts, has since 2017. 


    Would it be cool if the Watch could switch auto-magically along w/ video workouts from Peleton in 2021? Uh, sure. Is it a gaffe that it doesn’t? No, no it isn’t.
    You should be able to switch workouts "midstream" without having to stop and start a new workout. That is a mistake.
    right_said_fredlarryjwFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 28
    acejax805 said:
    That's a big gaffe on Apple's fitness side. Engineers and designers should understand that circuit training, CrossFit, and other very popular workout programs integrate more than one type of workout within a workout. 

    Is this another example of Apple kicking the can down the road with incremental updates or an honest miss on the part of engineers and designers?
    It really isn't. The article does a pretty poor job of explaining the issue and is confusing the Workout App* and GymKit. The workouts you are talking about are all covered in the Workout App. There's HIIT and Cross Training for intervals and circuits and Functional Strength for Cross Fit. Totally covered.

    GymKit allows developers and manufacturers to enable bidirectional sync between the Apple Watch and certain cardio equipment. So if someone wanted to do something other than a cycling workout on the Peloton then they would need to manually start whatever workout they want to do rather than letting the Peloton start a Cycling workout on watch.

    Apple could ultimately allow developers to start more types of workouts than GymKit currently supports but if you are jumping on and off treadmill then it defeats the purpose of having a bidirectional sync given the watch and treadmill don't really know if you stopped the treadmill to do something else or to end the workout. For Peloton it wouldn't be an issue since the workouts are guided and the Peloton bike would know what you are doing workout wise but that is a fairly limited usage case and Apple would be overhauling GymKit for one device manufacturer. But for all the other GymKit enable devices out there it wouldn't have any value as they don't do the whole guided workout thing. 

    All of that said, I totally expect that Apple will license the Fitness app to be installed on treadmills, bikes and rowers. That way subscribers of Fitness+ could go to the gym and do a workout without having to use their iPhone. So maybe that will drive a change in GymKit?

    *Inexplicably called Fitness App in the article. The Apple Watch has no app call Fitness but the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV all do.
    edited April 16 muthuk_vanalingamCloudTalkin
  • Reply 12 of 28
    swat671swat671 Posts: 67member
    acejax805 said:
    That's a big gaffe on Apple's fitness side. Engineers and designers should understand that circuit training, CrossFit, and other very popular workout programs integrate more than one type of workout within a workout. 

    Is this another example of Apple kicking the can down the road with incremental updates or an honest miss on the part of engineers and designers?
    I agree with you on the point of different types of workouts occurring during the same workout. I think that is a separate issue, though.

    GymKit is a way for an Apple Watch and a piece of exercise equipment to share data. For instance, if I run on a GymKit treadmill the treadmill will share the distance I traveled with the watch, which will yield more accurate results than the watch estimating the distance. Getting off the treadmill to do a different workout should end that session, since the info sharing between the watch and the treadmill would now be irrelevant.

    Peloton using GymKit for Apple Watch users to do an exercise that wasn’t cycling wouldn’t make much sense.
    Well, if you're at the gym running on the treadmill, after you get off, you're not done, you're not leaving the gym. You go on to say, lifting weights. It's still the same workout. You should have the ability to tell the watch "ok, I'm done on the treadmill, now switch to strength training." That CAN'T be that hard to do. 
    right_said_fred
  • Reply 13 of 28
    swat671 said:
    acejax805 said:
    That's a big gaffe on Apple's fitness side. Engineers and designers should understand that circuit training, CrossFit, and other very popular workout programs integrate more than one type of workout within a workout. 

    Is this another example of Apple kicking the can down the road with incremental updates or an honest miss on the part of engineers and designers?
    I agree with you on the point of different types of workouts occurring during the same workout. I think that is a separate issue, though.

    GymKit is a way for an Apple Watch and a piece of exercise equipment to share data. For instance, if I run on a GymKit treadmill the treadmill will share the distance I traveled with the watch, which will yield more accurate results than the watch estimating the distance. Getting off the treadmill to do a different workout should end that session, since the info sharing between the watch and the treadmill would now be irrelevant.

    Peloton using GymKit for Apple Watch users to do an exercise that wasn’t cycling wouldn’t make much sense.
    Well, if you're at the gym running on the treadmill, after you get off, you're not done, you're not leaving the gym. You go on to say, lifting weights. It's still the same workout. You should have the ability to tell the watch "ok, I'm done on the treadmill, now switch to strength training." That CAN'T be that hard to do. 
    The watch has that ability. Like, you can literally say "Hey Siri, switch to Strength Training workout" and it will do it. 

    What doesn't happen is the treadmill switching the watch to strength training when you are done with the treadmill. This is the issue Peloton is having. 
    edited April 16 FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 14 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    I am lol’ing at the “Apple screwed up again!” crowd, who think it’s the Watch’s fault that a user stopped doing a cycle workout and switched to strength training along w/ their video workout, and expect the Watch to magically know that and switch you from a Cycling workout to Strength Training. That...doesn’t make sense. 

    The Watch offers multi-activity workouts, has since 2017. 


    Would it be cool if the Watch could switch auto-magically along w/ video workouts from Peleton in 2021? Uh, sure. Is it a gaffe that it doesn’t? No, no it isn’t.

    It's not magic.  It's programming.
    The watch is communicating with the Pelaton so there's no technical reason why it wouldn't know to switch once it's told.


    elijahg
  • Reply 15 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    swat671 said:
    acejax805 said:
    That's a big gaffe on Apple's fitness side. Engineers and designers should understand that circuit training, CrossFit, and other very popular workout programs integrate more than one type of workout within a workout. 

    Is this another example of Apple kicking the can down the road with incremental updates or an honest miss on the part of engineers and designers?
    I agree with you on the point of different types of workouts occurring during the same workout. I think that is a separate issue, though.

    GymKit is a way for an Apple Watch and a piece of exercise equipment to share data. For instance, if I run on a GymKit treadmill the treadmill will share the distance I traveled with the watch, which will yield more accurate results than the watch estimating the distance. Getting off the treadmill to do a different workout should end that session, since the info sharing between the watch and the treadmill would now be irrelevant.

    Peloton using GymKit for Apple Watch users to do an exercise that wasn’t cycling wouldn’t make much sense.
    Well, if you're at the gym running on the treadmill, after you get off, you're not done, you're not leaving the gym. You go on to say, lifting weights. It's still the same workout. You should have the ability to tell the watch "ok, I'm done on the treadmill, now switch to strength training." That CAN'T be that hard to do. 

    You do.  You just press "New" and select the new workout.
    The issue is when the machine you're on changes the workout but it doesn't switch it on the watch.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 16 of 28
    I am lol’ing at the “Apple screwed up again!” crowd, who think it’s the Watch’s fault that a user stopped doing a cycle workout and switched to strength training along w/ their video workout, and expect the Watch to magically know that and switch you from a Cycling workout to Strength Training. That...doesn’t make sense. 

    The Watch offers multi-activity workouts, has since 2017. 


    Would it be cool if the Watch could switch auto-magically along w/ video workouts from Peleton in 2021? Uh, sure. Is it a gaffe that it doesn’t? No, no it isn’t.

    It's not magic.  It's programming.
    The watch is communicating with the Pelaton so there's no technical reason why it wouldn't know to switch once it's told.


    Well there is currently a technical reason, GymKit wasn’t designed to support it. There is no reason Apple couldn’t update GymKit to allow devices to switch workouts or to start a more appropriate workout like CrossTraining. But to StrangeDays point, this isn’t a gaffe on the part of Apple. It is an limitation that took four years to come up as an issue and it’s an issue for a very specific company on a single device. 
  • Reply 17 of 28
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 551member
    I’m going to go slightly off topic here to suggest that Apple needs to allow us to edit our workouts if we want to. On non-Gymkit bikes and ellipticals, I find the data between the Watch and the equipment to be fairly accurate. However, on treadmills and rowers, the Watch always shortchanges me on distance and pace. Every single time. This leads to the annoying downward pointing arrow next to pace in the trends section of the app. Also, on rare occasion, I might forget to end a workout and the Watch will ask me 5-10 minutes later if I’m still working out. If I’m not, the data will again be skewed. By allowing workout edits, those of us with ocd can change the data to more accurately reflect the actual work put in. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 18 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    I am lol’ing at the “Apple screwed up again!” crowd, who think it’s the Watch’s fault that a user stopped doing a cycle workout and switched to strength training along w/ their video workout, and expect the Watch to magically know that and switch you from a Cycling workout to Strength Training. That...doesn’t make sense. 

    The Watch offers multi-activity workouts, has since 2017. 


    Would it be cool if the Watch could switch auto-magically along w/ video workouts from Peleton in 2021? Uh, sure. Is it a gaffe that it doesn’t? No, no it isn’t.

    It's not magic.  It's programming.
    The watch is communicating with the Pelaton so there's no technical reason why it wouldn't know to switch once it's told.
    ....

    Well there is currently a technical reason, GymKit wasn’t designed to support it. There is no reason Apple couldn’t update GymKit to allow devices to switch workouts or to start a more appropriate workout like CrossTraining.....
    That's what I said.   (Sorry if it wasn't said clearly)

    edited April 17
  • Reply 19 of 28
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    Japhey said:
    I’m going to go slightly off topic here to suggest that Apple needs to allow us to edit our workouts if we want to. On non-Gymkit bikes and ellipticals, I find the data between the Watch and the equipment to be fairly accurate. However, on treadmills and rowers, the Watch always shortchanges me on distance and pace. Every single time. This leads to the annoying downward pointing arrow next to pace in the trends section of the app. Also, on rare occasion, I might forget to end a workout and the Watch will ask me 5-10 minutes later if I’m still working out. If I’m not, the data will again be skewed. By allowing workout edits, those of us with ocd can change the data to more accurately reflect the actual work put in. 
    I fully agree.  But, I doubt that will ever happen if, for no other reason than the results of the workout are propagated out into the Health app and optionally, from there out to other apps.  VO2Max is an example:  every time your exercise raises your heart rate to a certain extent for a certain period of time it is updated.   That would be hard to correct if the person then changed the duration.

    Another reason is that if you sign up for a study via Apple's Research app,  that data is provided to researchers.  One advantage of it is that it is "pure" data measured directly.  If they let the wearer modify it, some researchers could deem it unreliable (and, yeh, I realize the contradiction of not letting the wearer correct incorrect data -- but researchers tend to think in black and white terms)

  • Reply 20 of 28
    If I remember right Peloton announced they would implement GymKit with Bike+ (Sep 2020) and shortly after (Dec 2020) Apple Announced Apple Fitness+ based around AppleWatch which is a competitor to the Peloton App which I’m assuming Peloton wasn't happy about.

    Could this be a case where technically Peloton is correct that AppleWatch doesn’t automatically switch between workouts but chose not to implant it as a single HIIT or Other workout? I’m assuming the heart rate feeds to the Peloton from the Watch and the bike determines burn since it knows resistance and speed. This seems absolutely plausible to me since Peloton was surprised by the Apple Fitness+ announcement and if Peloton has their own tracker coming and knows they can’t remove GymKit functionality but can disable it on a technicality for one of the popular newer workouts.

    I have a Gen1 Peloton Bike and find it absolutely annoying I can’t use my AppleWatch to get my heart rate. I was considering trading in for the Bike+ specifically for the GymKit functionality but not now.

    Also regarding people saying Apple should have bought Peloton just remember all Peloton Bikes and Treads run on Android tablets. Doable but would have created a challenge for support and also news Alphabet could have spun in their favor.
    edited April 17
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