On Thursday, CNBC reported that fitness unicorn Peloton was in dire straits. The company saw its value plummet on the news that they were “temporarily halting production of its connected fitness products as consumer demand wanes.” As the pandemic starts to move to the back of many minds, there’s been a significant drop in the number of people looking to buy expensive home workout equipment. Because of this, the idea of Apple purchasing Peloton has come back up. It has lingered for awhile, but now the idea is gaining more traction in the press. I think everyone needs to cool their jets.

Let’s start with a quick recap of Apple’s work in the fitness tech space. Apple’s been developing fitness tech since they kicked off their partnership with Nike in 2006. The first Nike + iPod Sport Kit turned the iPod nano into a powerful fitness gadget that could track your walks and runs.

In 2014, Apple introduced the Health app as part of iOS 8 and the first generation Apple Watch. They continued their partnership with Nike with their first Nike co-branded Apple Watch in 2016. In 2017, the company launched GymKit to extend Apple Watch compatibility to gym equipment. Most recently, in 2020, the company launched their first paid fitness subscription service that transforms the Apple TV into a workout hub.

For 16 years, the company has slowly expanded its reach and control over the fitness tech space with elegant solutions that seamlessly fit into our daily lives. Apple’s been making fitness products longer than Peloton has been a company. The Apple Watch isn’t just a beautiful timepiece, it’s the most comprehensive health and fitness companion you can buy, and it’s on hundreds of millions of wrists. It’s clear that Apple has broader ambitions, though, and Fitness+ is the first step towards something bigger.

Peloton makes some of the most popular large fitness equipment in the world. They offer treadmills, bikes, weights, and a multitude of accessories – the company also competes with Apple in the video space with their own subscription service. The core argument for Apple buying Peloton is that it would help them tighten their grasp on the health and fitness industry. But I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t think it’ll happen, even if they can purchase the company at a huge discount. Here are a few reasons why it shouldn’t happen…

1. Anti-trust watchdogs will throw a fit

Apple is being closely watched by governments and anti-trust watchdogs all over the world; it’s simply not a good time for the company to make a ginormous acquisition of a competitor. This is especially the case in the services field. At this time, Peloton is worth about $8.5B, which would make it the largest acquisition that Apple has ever done. It would attract a lot of unnecessary attention and undoubtedly create controversy.

US antitrust legislation gaining bipartisan support

2. They can just poach talent

The most valuable asset Peloton has is its talent. Not necessarily the people on the inside, but the public facing personas that make people want to get on their expensive bikes in the morning. Peloton instructors have individual followings that love working out with them. There are more than 50 Peloton instructors divided amongst treadmill, biking, and yoga workouts. Apple should just poach them for Fitness+ in an effort to get Peloton users subscribed to the new service.

Fitness+ is already a great service for Apple Watch owners, and it already has some great personalities. But to really drive growth, they need big names and more fitness fanatics.

3. If there’s no demand, there’s no product to make

The key issue that Peloton is having is that there’s waning demand for their products. Why should Apple buy a company whose primary product is something people don’t want right now? Larger equipment that costs thousands of dollars isn’t something that people frequently replace, and demand won’t pick back up for awhile, especially with folks wanting to get out of the house. Luxury home gym equipment is not an easy sell right now, and may not be for awhile.

4. Quality issues and lots of baggage

Peloton went through quite a controversy last year with a major recall of its treadmills citing danger to children. The poor design of their treadmill led to more than 70 incidents and one death. Products are also not of the highest quality – sure, they’re expensive, but that doesn’t mean they’re as good as they should be. Their products just aren’t up to Apple’s standards.

Peloton has also been the subject of some unflattering pop culture moments like the recent “And Just Like That” scene that features a character having a heart attack as a result of riding a Peloton. There’s also the notoriously sexist Peloton ad campaign from 2019 that featured a man gifting a Peloton to a woman. At the end of the day, Peloton has just garnered too much attention and often for not so great things. It’s a brand that isn’t on the ups.

5. They can make it themselves if they want to

If Apple wanted to make fitness equipment, they could do it themselves. They’re making a car and they haven’t acquired a car company like Tesla. They’re making a headset and haven’t acquired a headset company. They made a watch and didn’t acquire a watchmaker. They launched a streaming service without acquiring a Netflix or a Hulu.

Apple makes top notch hardware, and they could bring in the right expertise to couple with its already brilliant designers to unleash incredible home gym equipment. They don’t need Peloton at all.

Conclusion

What do you think about Apple potentially buying Peloton? Do you think it would be a good idea or do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Parker Ortolani

Parker Ortolani is a marketing strategist and product designer based in New York. In addition to contributing to 9to5mac, he also oversees product development and marketing for BuzzFeed. A longtime reader, Parker is excited to share his product concepts and thoughts with the 9to5mac audience.