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.

Sales of Apple Watch 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?

A swimmer’s view of Apple Watch Series 2 [Reviews]

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Does Apple Watch Series 2 sink or swim?
Does Apple Watch Series 2 sink or swim?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Workout app in Apple Watch Series 2 includes two new swimming options to show off its waterproofing. This is a key differentiator over the cheaper Series 1 model, and yet very few reviewers actually took their test units for a swim. One even claimed that all the pools and beaches in New York were closed, so they couldn’t test this feature.

So I decided to take the plunge with Series 2 and find out for myself if it sinks or swims.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve tested my Apple Watch in a variety of swimming conditions, including various public pools — and even the Mediterranean sea.

Apple Watch Series 2 may not be enough to boost sales

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Apple Watch Nike Plus
Will the Nike+ bring in more Apple Watch customers?
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The new features on the Apple Watch Series 2 will not be enough to boost overall sales of the wearable, claims KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo.

Even though the original Apple Watch was only on sale for eight months in 2015, Kuo’s supply chain sources indicate that sales will decline compared to last year.