What exactly are fitness trackers tracking? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Many people say they want to get fit, but what does this actually mean? Fit for what?
The websites of leading fitness trackers, like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Microsoft Band and Jawbone Up don’t shed much light on this question. They talk a lot about the things that their devices measure, and even suggest changes in how we go about our day, but they rarely explain why this matters or what the actual benefits are.
The Apple Watch is on the Chinese military’s watch list. Though not in a good way.
The Apple Watch is expected to do big things in China — with even the high-end Apple Watch Edition selling out within its first hour of preorders in the country — but one place the company’s debut wearable device won’t take off is the Chinese army.
That’s according to a recently released memo in which Chinese military leaders argue that wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers are sure to compromise soldiers’ security.
Fitbit is looking to make a splash on Wall Street by filing to go public. The company behind the Flex activity trackers announced it is looking to raise $100 million in an initial public offering later this year.
Fitbit sold 10.2 million devices last year, and is the first wearable technology company to go public. But now that Apple Watch is available to the public, Fibit is warning investors in its filing that it could potentially be “more competitive than our products and services.”
Even Microsoft admits the iPhone 6 is king of 2014. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Microsoft released its list of the top Bing searches of 2014 this week, and among tech companies, Apple appears to be this year’s big winner, again.
The iPhone 6 and iPad both ranked among the top 5 tech search words of 2014, according to BingTrends. Other top searches included Fitbit and the Xbox One, but the iPhone 6’s biggest competitor – the Samsung Galaxy S5 – didn’t even place in the top 10.
One way you can tell a technology is becoming mainstream is when it starts to have brushes with the law. We saw it in the 1980s with the first computer hacker trials, more recently with the appearance of Google Glass, and now with fitness trackers — courtesy of a personal injury suit taking place in Canada.
In what is thought to be the first ever case of data from a wearable device being used in court, a female Calgary plaintiff is using information gathered by her Fitbit device to demonstrate that her activity levels have dropped dramatically following an accident.
The data is being analyzed by a third-party analytics firm called Vivametrica, which will make its findings known to the court.
Clearing the way for its own fitness-tracking wearables, Apple has stopped selling Fitbit activity trackers in the Apple Online Store, and has begun removing them from its brick-and-mortar retail outlets also.
Fitbit’s devices have been sold in Apple Stores for the past few years; quickly racking up close to 70% of the fitness-tracking device marketshare, courtesy of a head start over competitors such as Nike’s FuelBand and Jawbone Up.
Apple is giving FitBit the boot to make way for Apple Watch. Photo: Fitbit
Fitbit’s lineup of activity trackers may soon get exiled from the Apple Store, sources have told Recode, as Apple prepares to launch its own lineup of wearables next year.
It’s unclear whether other activity trackers will suffer the same fate, but the move comes just days after FitBit announced it has no plans to support iOS 8’s HealthKit in the near future, which makes it easy for iOS users to track all of their fitness data in one app.
How does a wearables company survive being Sherlocked? Jawbone has some ideas.
In the business world, Apple entering your product category is a little bit like a tsunami crashing into a home aquarium. What had previously seemed like a nice, small and self-contained ecosystem suddenly runs the risk of being obliterated by a giant wave-maker.
When Tim Cook announced the Apple Watch at Apple’s recent media event, the crowd went wild. But exciting as it was for consumers, it represents a seismic shift for the currently $330 million wearable tech industry.
Devices that can serve up smartphone notifications, track fitness goals and even advise us on health matters have the potential to be huge — but they’re not yet. That’s about to change, according to Juniper Research, which forecasts that wearable devices like smartwatches could hit sales of $19 billion by 2018.
What happens to Apple’s marketplace rivals as this sea change takes place? Cult of Mac did some digging to find out how companies like Jawbone and Fitbit plan to survive Apple’s smartwatch revolution.
Brendan Nee, an engineer at Automatic Labs, designed an app to get people out of their cars, even though he doesn’t have one to get into. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — Brendan Nee is a walking contradiction. He’s car guru who doesn’t own one, a 21st-century geek with an 18th-century mustache who has come up with a novel bit of nagware that could help Americans get off their spreading behinds.
An engineer working on “smart car assistant” Automatic, he spends many of his weekends at hackathons and has a coder’s physique to show for it. In January, he won the Clinton Foundation Code4Health Codeathon by developing a working prototype of an app called Walkoff in just a weekend. A few months later, Nee and team rolled out a more polished version that mashes up the data Automatic pulls from cars with info gathered by a Jawbone Up fitness tracker, showing a user how much time they’re spending behind the wheel versus walking.
“Clearly, without an actual car, I’m not the ideal tester,” admits Nee. The closest he comes to owning a set of wheels is a retired public bus dubbed the PlayaPillar that he only rolls out for Burning Man.