Discovery launches free Apple Watch initiative

Johannesburg - Financial services company Discovery [JSE:DSY] said it is giving away Apple Watch wearable devices - but at an exercising cost.

The company - which sells health insurance services - announced on Tuesday that it will fund Apple Watch devices in full for Vitality Active Rewards members, if they meet all their weekly fitness goals for 24 months.

Discovery on Tuesday also launched its Apple Watch app, which leverages the device's capabilities to measure movement and heart rate to track members’ activities and points regarding their weekly fitness goals.

The app also taps QR code features of the watch to give members other rewards such as free coffees at selected partners.

“What happens is that we actually set the goals,” Discovery CEO Adrian Gore told Fin24 by phone.

“We set the number of physical activity points you have to get. It’s based historically on how we know how active you’ve been. It’s based on certain questions of your risk factors, etc. So, we actually set the Vitality points you have to earn,” he said.

Members will be able to order their Apple Watch devices online and collect them at iStore outlets in South Africa thanks to collaboration between Apple and Discovery, Gore told Fin24.

But apart from the exercise requirements, there are other stipulations members need to meet before they can get their hands on Apple’s latest wearables, according to the company.

For example, they will have to be part of Vitality Active Rewards, pay a once-off, non-refundable activation fee for the Apple Watch using a qualifying Discovery Card, and own an iPhone 5 or up. The benefit is only available for the Apple Watch Sport 38mm.

Moreover, members’ Discovery Cards must have a limit of at least R10 000 and an available balance of at least R600, the company has said on its website.

And if members lapse on their fitness goals, their Discovery Cards will be debited a monthly amount that is calculated as a percentage of the retail price.

“If you’re fully active, you pay nothing and if you’re not, you pay kind of the purchase price less the activation fee divided by 24 months. It’s pretty simple. So, the deal is good even if you’re not active,” said Gore.

“But the truth is that I think people will move up and down and be fairly independent. So, if one month you’re incredibly active, you won’t pay. If you then slack off for a few months, you’ll move your way up that payment schedule,” he said.

Gore told Fin24 the initiative is first being launched in South Africa but that it will be rolled out to the company’s other markets in the next six to nine months.

It comes hot on the heels of Apple's official launch of its watch device in South Africa in October.

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