LG is taking on Peloton and Apple with home workouts, but it’s two years too late
LG has recently announced its intention to move into the home workout space, with a new app called Fitness Candy to run on LG TVs. Backed by K-Pop stars and set to feature companion equipment such as an AI camera and exercise bike (just like Peloton with its Peloton Guide camera hardware) The South Korean company plans on disrupting the home fitness space. Which, in my opinion, would have been great… two years ago.
The Peloton Guide, which launched earlier this year, was an excellent piece of fitness kit. With a Peloton subscription, its AI camera tracked your attempts to copy the movements shown onscreen, and if you completed the reps properly, it filled a little progress gauge. The workouts challenged you to fill the gauge in time with the instructor, and provided you a completion rate at the end, like a video game.
It’s heinously addictive stuff, and I firmly believe if it had been launched during the height of the pandemic, it would have sold like proverbial hot cakes.
Instead, it launched as the global pandemic receded from a world-shaking event into something we now live with day-to-day. Some people have already invested in home exercise equipment like connected Peloton bikes, rowing machines, or their own weights, and won’t want to spend upwards of $300 or £280 on a smart camera to stick on their TVs. Others are sick of working out in front of a screen and have returned to the gym, where you can get access a wide range of equipment, often for less than the price of an expensive Peloton subscription.
It feels as though Peloton, and now LG, saw the home fitness boom during the pandemic and reacted rather than strategized, sinking money into developing these products and betting big home exercise in front of your TV is here to stay. And I believe connected HIIT will carve out its own niche as a fitness product, but YouTube-style workouts will never enjoy the captive audience they once held. The narrow window to make these products an enormous success has well and truly been missed.
The exception could be Apple Fitness Plus, which at least has the advantage of an in-built userbase. Apple also offers a more complete experience with Fitness Plus by centering it around the Apple Watch rather than a TV screen: doing HIIT in your front room is one way to exercise, and it’s great to see the stats from your Watch on-screen, but you can also choose to try guided audio workouts, or copy the movements shown on your Watch to fill your rings. You can even (gasp!) exercise outside.
However, when it comes to success, Apple is very coy on numbers for its paid Fitness subscribers. It shared its impressive total of 750 million paid subscribers in January, but that figure is across all its services such as Apple TV, Apple Fitness, Wallet, Arcade and more, keeping tight-lipped about how that number is spread out in any more detail.
Perhaps I’m biased, or maybe I’m underestimating the amount of LG TV owners that will want this new subscription service. But for me, at least, I don’t think any connected HIIT workout will ever replace a set of the best workout headphones and the lure of the open road.