Peloton Seemingly Rolling Back GymKit Support [Updated]
Peloton appears to be rolling back its support for Apple GymKit on the Bike+, which was one of the first consumer-oriented machines to feature the option of Apple Watch integration, according to Connect The Watts.
Peloton was among the first companies to support GymKit on its home fitness machines, allowing users to easily and directly pair their Apple Watch with their bike. This meant that users could see heart rate information from the Apple Watch on the machine and feed workout metrics into the Apple Watch, the Activity app, and the Health app automatically.
After disabling Apple Watch pairing for Strength and Yoga workouts on the Bike+, one of Peloton's latest updates disables the ability to directly pair the Apple Watch with the Bike+ during Bootcamp workouts. This means that the only remaining class to still work with the Apple Watch is Cycling.
Peloton's responses to complaints about the feature removal on Instagram have claimed that the company hopes "to support GymKit for additional class types in the future," but have inadvertently proven that the gradual removal of GymKit features that has occurred so far is intentional and not a bug.
The move has caused outrage among some Peloton customers, particularly since GymKit was sold as a premium feature on its $2,495 Bike+, and was not available on the cheaper $1,895 Peloton Bike. The Bike+ launched only seven months ago and was largely seen as the only viable consumer option for using GymKit at home.
It is possible that Peloton is planning on releasing its own fitness-oriented smartwatch in the future, which may explain the gradual removal of GymKit features. Peloton purchased fitness smartwatch maker Atlas Wearables earlier this year, so it seems to be a matter of time before the company leverages that acquisition to launch its own integrated smartwatch.
The company would likely want to encourage users who have already invested in costly equipment and an ongoing $39 per month subscription to remain within the Peloton ecosystem with its own smartwatch. Rumors suggest that an announcement of a Peloton smartwatch could come as soon as the end of this month.
Another possibility is that Peloton is concerned about endorsing the Apple ecosystem now that there is a cheaper rival service in the form of Apple Fitness+. Peloton may suspect that Apple Watch users would be attracted to Apple Fitness+, and therefore would not want to provide any additional cause to purchase one by offering integrated features.
Update: Peloton has now confirmed to The Verge that GymKit no longer works in Bike Bootcamp classes and instead will "only be available in cycling classes for now." The Peloton spokesperson also said "Peloton is committed to bringing the GymKit integration to all workouts and disciplines within Apple's terms of service," which seems to suggest that Bootcamp workouts and others that have lost GymKit support did not fall under Apple's terms of service, but it is not yet clear why this would be the case.