Fitbit surges as Apple Watch stumbles

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Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Simple fitness trackers from Fitbit, Xiaomi and Garmin outsold Apple Watch during the third quarter.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch may be the most recognizable product in the wearables space, but it isn’t the best selling.

Watch sales are down more than 70 percent according to IDC Research, which cites third-quarter sales figures of the wearables market.

Are smartwatches doomed?

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swimmer wearing apple watch
Is fitness really all that Apple Watch is fit for?
Photo: Apple

The writing has been on the wall for smartwatches ever since Cupertino chose to focus on sports and fitness features for Apple Watch Series 2. Smartwatch sales are plummeting, and fitness seems to be the only profitable area remaining in the wearables sector.

More evidence of this trend emerged this week, with smartwatch trailblazer Pebble reportedly being acquired by fitness wearables specialist Fitbit. We might very well be witnessing the demise of the smartwatch as we know it.

So how did we get here? Is Apple Watch really only fit for fitness, or could it still one day fulfill its destiny and become a true wrist-based computing platform?

Fitbit said to be planning $40 million Pebble acquisition

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Can Fitbit breathe new life into Pebble?
Photo: Pebble

Fitness band maker Fitbit is said to be in the process of acquiring Pebble, the company that kickstarted the smartwatch generation. Sources say the acquisition will cost between $35 million and $40 million, and will include the entire Pebble portfolio — including its intellectual property.

Smartwatch sales may have actually increased last quarter

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apple watch workout app
Apple Watch may have done better than expected last quarter.
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Analysts can’t agree whether smartwatch sales are tanking or booming.

In a new study that refutes IDC’s estimation that total smartwatch sales declined last quarter, analysts at Canalys argue that shipments actually rose 60 percent and the Apple Watch dominated.

Apple Watch heart rate monitor is a beat ahead of the competition

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Update your fancy wrist computer to the latest watchOS.
Apple Watch blasts your wrist with green light to read your pulse.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Fitness fanatics that want a good heart rate reading from their wrist better get an Apple Watch.

A new study of the four most popular wearables on the market found Apple Watch to be the most accurate smart watch for tracking heart rate. And it wasn’t even close.