👓 🏃‍♂️Latest Tech? Apple's Virtual Workouts, Facebook's smart Ray Ban AR glasses.

Dear Colleague,

Last week, all the major sports leagues, including the NFL, were back in full swing. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred now hopes that fans will be able to attend LCS and World Series this fall. Big Ten football also announced return to play 2020 season on Oct. 24 with unique schedule, daily rapid testing.

FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi also became football's second billionaire as he tops Forbes' rich list in 2020. American billionaire Steve Cohen also reached an agreement with Sterling Partners over the sale of its Major League Baseball side the New York Mets, in a deal worth an estimated $2.4 billion.

In the world of AR/VR and digital, Facebook joins the AR race, with smart Ray Ban specs due in 2021. In the wearable and connected fitness world, Apple announced Fitness Plus virtual workouts, and officially announced the Apple Watch Series 6. It was also a big week for startups in the connected fitness world with Tonal announcing a $110 million investment round bringing its total funding to $200M. Online fitness platform Zwift also announced a $450 million round of fundraising. Peloton also reported a fourth-quarter sales jump of 172% year-over-year and a 210% increase in online subscriptions.

On Thursday as part of our Upside Guest writer series, we will publish our new article entitled “Strategies for Performing Under Pressure”. This article will be written by Len Zaichkowsky, PhD, world’s class expert in biofeedback/psychophysiology.

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📰 Top Stories We’re Reading This Week

👓   Facebook joins the AR race, with smart Ray Ban specs due in 2021

🏃‍♂️ Apple announces Fitness Plus virtual workouts

⌚Apple officially announces the Apple Watch Series 6

💸 Latest Investment Trends

📊 Tech Stats of the Week

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Let’s jump right into the insights and upside for all of these top stories

🎮 AR/VR/Video/Digital Sports News

👓   Facebook joins the AR race, with smart Ray Ban specs due in 2021 | Via : Wareable

Facebook has entered the AR glasses arms race, and has announced a partnership with Ray Ban that will see glasses on faces in 2021. The company is pumping money into Project Aria, via its Facebook Reality Labs – a new reference and research platform, which the company hopes will yield a pair of consumer AR glasses. The company admits that a true AR product might be some way off, but its medium term plans are much more modest. Facebook has announced a partnership with Ray Ban to create a pair of smartglasses for release in 2021, but haven’t yet disclosed what they will do. We reported on rumors back in 2019 that Facebook was working on a glasses project with Luxottica, and it seems the fruits of that partnership aren’t far away.

However, Facebook has ruled out the use of AR or any kind of display on the Ray Ban partnership – so that pretty much leaves a Snap Spectacles style device, possibly with cameras. Or so we think. We can already hear the privacy arguments already. Of course, Facebook is just one company lining up to take a run at AR. Google’s long journey with Glass is testament to that, but it has bought North, one of the few companies to make headway with a consumer AR product. And Apple has been dabbling in the space, with constant rumors of a pair of Apple AR specs – which has been evident via personnel hires. But it still feels that the consumer AR dream of a seamlessly connected virtual and real world experience is far, far away.

⬆️ The Upside: In out view, it makes sense for Facebook to team up with Ray Ban to launch smart AR glasses. Slim and sleek AR glasses is what will make the AR glasses take off. Now it is unclear at what price Facebook will price those Ray Ban smart AR glasses. In our view, if it manages to offer them for $300-400 retail it will be a success. We also expect other OEMs (Apple, Samsung..) to follow the footsteps of Facebook.

Picture : Facebook

🚑 Wearables, Health, Nutrition News

🏃‍♂️Apple announces Fitness Plus virtual workouts | Via : The Verge

Apple is launching a new subscription service for virtual fitness classes called Fitness Plus, the company announced during its presentation today. The service integrates with iPhones, iPads, and the Apple TV, but Apple says it’s built for the Apple Watch. Access to the service will cost $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year, and you’ll get three months free with the purchase of a new Apple Watch. It also comes bundled as part of Apple’s new Apple One subscription. Apple says Fitness Plus will be available before the end of the year. Many of the workouts require just a set of dumbbells or no equipment at all, Apple says, which should give you the flexibility to do them wherever’s convenient for you. There are 10 different workout types available, including cycling, treadmill, yoga, core, strength, rowing, and HIIT routines, and there’s a program built in for absolute beginners. You can select workouts based on their duration, and Apple says it plans to add new workouts every week. While you’re working out, Apple says you’ll be able to see your stats such as your heart rate or calories burned on-screen. Apple is also promising to offer intelligent suggestions for which workouts to try (new workouts will be added every week), and the service integrates with Apple Music. At the end of each workout, you get a summary of all your data.

Apple has long included fitness features like workout tracking in the Apple Watch, which can show you a variety of metrics about activities like running, cycling, swimming, or rowing. The Apple Watch can already give you alerts while running if your pace is too fast or too slow, for example, or give you details on your heart rate or number of steps per minute. Now, Apple can help give you more information on how to exercise in addition to encouraging you to close your activity rings.

Apple’s website says that Fitness Plus requires an Apple Watch, though, and you’ll need to have a Series 3 model or later to use the service on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. News that Apple has been working on a fitness service under the codename “Seymour” first emerged last month when Bloomberg reported that the company was planning to include it in one of its higher-end Apple One bundles. Apple reportedly intends for its virtual classes to compete with services from Peloton and Nike.

Peloton offers a collection of live and on-demand workout classes, but it also sells treadmills and exercise bikes which allow people to follow along with its classes via their built-in screens. Peloton’s CEO John Foley responded to Apple’s news by calling Fitness Plus “quite a legitimization of fitness content,” CNBC’sLauren Thomas reports. He added that Apple is only competing on content, rather than the kind of fitness hardware that Peloton sells.

⬆️ The Upside: We think this is a great move by Apple. It should not be a surprise to see Apple enter the digital fitness classes space. Now is Peloton in trouble? Not right now. Peloton will probably see some impact in the short term. If Apple would have introduced a smart bike it would have been a different story. In the future, we could see Apple acquire Peloton in order to move deeper into the space.

Image: Apple

Apple officially announces the Apple Watch Series 6 | Via : Appleinsider.com

We've spent 24 hours so far testing out the best new features found on the latest Apple Watch Series 6. Here are our impressions of the new features, how useful they are, and how they compare to the prior generation. Various team members have ordered different colors, but we were only able to get the vivid new (PRODUCT)RED version on launch day. In-person, the color is very bright, regardless of the lighting condition. We are obsessed with the color but get that it has to match your style. Anytime you choose a bright red color that never changes, you have to love that color greatly.

Apple's most-touted feature of the new watch is the blood oxygen sensor, which has an accompanying app. As many of the early reviews noted, your watch must be snug on your wrist and you need to ensure you don't move. As long as you meet those requirements, it only takes 15 seconds for the reading to come back.

Our only issue with our O2 reading was the lack of information surrounding it. It reports back a number but most people won't any idea what to do with that number. What is good, what is bad, and how do you improve it? Apple's vagueness about the value is likely due to its skirting of the medical device requirements. Apple says that the blood oxygen measurement is only for wellness and fitness purposes and not intended to replace a medical device, such as a pulse oximeter which requires federal approval. If Apple would start giving advice and saying it is good or bad, it may be getting dangerously close to a medical device and the regulation that comes with it.

Apple Watch 6 prices start at $399, with the latest deals and discounts on new styles, as well as closeout Series 5 models, at your fingertips in our Apple Watch Price Guide.

⬆️ The Upside: Generally speaking the Apple Watch 6 is a foot in the right direction. We particularly like the always on display, faster charging capabilities. In terms of biosensing capabilities it is a bit underwhelming with only the addition of a blood oxygen sensor. As we mentioned before, it is this time of the year again when Apple announces its new Apple Watch. In our view, Apple needs to innovate in terms of biosensing capabilities (e.g. hydration/electrolyte, Blood pressure measurement..). Of note, Apple’s share in the global smartwatch shipment revenue increased to 51.4% in the first half of 2020 from 43.2% during the same period last year, according to Counterpoint Research.

Picture : Apple Watch

💸 Sports Tech & Health Investment (Fund raising, M&As) Trends — September 2020

  • NFL player DeAndre Hopkins has invested in wellness technology firm Therabody. Read on here.

  • Connected fitness Tonal announced a $110 million investment round bringing its total funding to $200M. Read on here.

  • Online fitness platform Zwift announced a $450 million round of fundraising. Read on here.

📊 Key Tech Sports Stats of The Week

$2.4B: American billionaire Steve Cohen has reached an agreement with Sterling Partners over the sale of its Major League Baseball side the New York Mets, in a deal worth an estimated $2.4 billion.

$1B: BARCELONA captain Lionel Messi has become football's second billionaire as he tops Forbes' rich list in 2020.According to Forbes, the 33-year-old has pocketed over $1,000,000,000 in pre-tax earnings during his career - following in the footsteps of great rival Cristiano Ronaldo. And they have stated the Argentine international is the highest-paid footballer of 2020. Messi is said to be set to pocket £98million in total this year from his salary and endorsements.

$100M: Gyms continue their struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic as spin boutique operator Flywheel Sports has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. After the pandemic shut down its locations, Flywheel will seek to sell its assets to pay off up to $100 million in liabilities.

Gym Bankruptcy Impacts:

Flywheel: Approximately 300,000 members will be affected by closures in cities such as Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

Town Sports International: 600,000 members across 161 locations, largely New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington Sports Clubs.

Gold’s Gym: German company RSG Group bought Gold’s Gym for $100 million in August.

24 Hour Fitness: Permanently closed 100 locations in June as it hoped to keep another 300 afloat.

25.8M: Fox’s Sunday afternoon game — Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints — was the most-watched TV program since Super Bowl LIV in February. It had 25.8 million viewers, up 7% year-over-year.

NFL Week 1 Ratings:

  • NBC Thursday Season Opener: 5% decrease year-over-year

  • NBC “Sunday Night Football”: 14% decrease

  • ESPN “Monday Night Football” (first game): 18% decrease

  • ESPN “Monday Night Football” (second game): 27% decrease

  • Fox Sunday Afternoon Slot: 7% increase

172%: Peloton reported a fourth-quarter sales jump of 172% year-over-year and a 210% increase in online subscriptions.

📸 Snapshots of the Week

Apple Vs Peloton: Peloton threw a little shade at Apple on Twitter the day that Apple announced its digital workouts: