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Peloton may be working on a heart rate monitoring armband

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Code in the company’s apps points to a new wearable

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Peloton, connected exercise equipment company and all-around fitness media powerhouse, appears to be working on a new wearable, Bloomberg reports. The device is described as a heart rate monitoring armband and according to Bloomberg, is referenced deep within the code of the company’s iPad and iPhone apps.

The new wearable will reportedly connect to Peloton devices like the company’s bikes and treadmills, and Peloton's apps, which are available on iOS, iPadOS, smart TV platforms, and Android. The armband is said to feature a small screen for displaying battery and whether the device is currently paired, and it will also come in small and large sizes. We’ve reached out to Peloton for comment on the details in the report.

Based on what Bloomberg was able to dig up, it doesn’t seem like Peloton’s unannounced wearable should be viewed as a direct competitor to, say, an Apple Watch, but it will reportedly be able to receive software updates, which could allow it to pick up new features down the road. Peloton already offers two wearable ways of getting heart rate information into its system: a simple heart-rate monitor it sells in its accessory store, as well as integration with Apple Watches. This armband may fit comfortably in the middle of those two in terms of capabilities.

Branching out into wearables may have been in the cards for a while at Peloton. Peloton has acquired multiple companies that specialize in wearables and digital voice assistants over the last year. It’s also recently expressed some animosity between it and Apple over using GymKit (the API that lets exercise equipment talk to the Apple Watch) on its bikes. Getting a nice new device that can do the fitness basics of what Apple offers could help distance Peloton and its users from the company.

A fitness device you wear on your body is also infinitely less risky and accident-prone than large exercise equipment. Peloton’s been dealing with the fallout of a tragic death connected to its Tread treadmill and, recently, come up with a software-based solution it claims will make the devices more safe. Selling a wearable to people already hooked on the company’s service seems like a natural and safe next step.