According to Apple’s earnings call on 27 Jan 2015, the Apple Watch will ship, on schedule, in April 2015. It looks like there will be three collections – one for everyday use, a more upmarket dress watch and a sport model. Will the sport model be really useful?
The Apple Watch Sport collection will feature ten different models with a choice of either a 42mm or 38mm face and five different coloured bands. Apple boasts that the Sport model will have an accelerometer for measuring movement, a heart rate sensor and access to WiFi and GPS from your iPhone so that it knows how far you’ve traveled.
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That’s right – no integrated GPS.
Clearly, Apple is not looking to rip the Garmin, TomTom or Nike sport watch from your wrist. It would seem that they are targeting the fitness band market rather than sports watches.
Given that Apple is a consumer electronics company that makes good sense. For people who are moderately active and want to make sure they walk enough steps each day and are happy to carry their iPhone with them when they exercise it will be a good fit and, if the balance between price, features and fashion is met, it will make a dent in FitBit’s 60% market share for sportsbands.
It also remains to be seen if Apple will push everyone towards its Health platform and app or whether they will play nicely with other fitness app developers.
Their track record isn’t great. Apple has withdrawn all of FitBit’s products from their online and retail stores because FitBit isn’t sharing with Health (note – the linked story doesn’t mention retail but that has happened since that story was published).
Given that tools such as MyFitnessPal and others already have significant marketshare, it remains to be seen how those apps will work with the Apple Watch.
Although the number of developers working on apps for the Apple Watch was described as “impressive” by Apple CCEO Tim Cook, whether those developers are from popular fitness services that potentially compete with Apple Health remains to be seen.