Study finds Apple Watch is most accurate wearable at measuring heart rate

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Apple Watch sensors
Has your Apple Watch's sensor panel popped off?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

When it comes to measuring heart rate and calories burned, not all fitness trackers are created equal, based on the findings of a scientific study that pitted the top wearables on the market against each other.

The in-depth study conducted by researchers at Stanford University was published today, revealing that Apple Watch is the most accurate wrist-worn tracker on the market, but it’s still far from perfect.

Microsoft just killed its Apple Watch competitor

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The Microsoft Band 2 never caught on.
The Microsoft Band 2 never caught on.
Photo: Microsoft

The Microsoft Band may have just met its demise.

Microsoft’s online store has officially stopped selling the Band 2 which was positioned as a competitor to the Apple Watch. The company also revealed today that it will not release a new Microsoft Band 3 this year.

Apple Watch apps kinda suck, but Cupertino hopes you won’t notice

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watch bands march 21 apple event
Apple Watch apps were conspicuous in their absence at this week's Apple event.
Photo: Apple

At this week’s “Let us loop you in” keynote, Apple revealed a major shift in its smartwatch strategy. Tim Cook tried to dress it up by announcing new Apple Watch bands and a price drop, but the most significant aspect was what he did not say: There was no mention of third-party Watch apps.

After Monday’s keynote, Apple updated its website with a new marketing proposition that represents a tacit acknowledgment that, right now, Apple Watch is only good for three things: notifications, fitness and health.

What happened to the idea that there is an app for everything?

Check out all these Apple Watch fitness success stories

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You can see the difference Apple Watch is having on Cult of Mac readers' lives.
You can see the difference Apple Watch is having on Cult of Mac readers' lives.
Photo: Various

Around the world, Apple Watch is helping people make life-changing improvements to their health and fitness.

I recently asked Cult of Mac readers to share their experiences getting in shape with Apple Watch, and the response has been amazing. Here are some of the inspiring stories I received — and some great insights into how you can use an Apple Watch to smash your fitness goals.

What does ‘fitness’ mean and why does it matter?

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Apple Watch Activity
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.

Apple Watch wins the wrist war before it starts

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Apple Watch did some monster pre-orders in its first day on sale. Photo: Leander Kahney
The closer we get to Apple Watch, the more advanced it looks in comparison to its competition. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Ever since Tim Cook unveiled the Apple Watch last September, it’s been one disappointment after another as far as I’m concerned. Apple’s first wearable won’t come in the minimalist form factor of the fitness bracelets I love. Worse yet, the launch version of the fashion-forward device will lack GPS, suffer from underwhelming battery life and fail to offer truly native third-party apps.

For the first time, I realized I would not be buying an Apple product when it first hit the market. “It’s not worth lining up for,” I told my dad when he asked what I thought after the Apple Watch’s big reveal.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Apple Watch’s launch day, which is coming sometime this spring. And I’m not talking about the previously unthinkable — an Apple fan calling the Microsoft Band the best smartwatch on the planet. No, I’m talking about wading through an ungodly sea of really bad smartwatches at International CES earlier this month and seeing indisputable proof of just how innovative and disruptive Apple Watch actually will be.

Why I love Microsoft’s fitness band, and what it means for the Apple Watch

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The Microsoft Band. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The Microsoft Band is an awesome gadget. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo:

I’m really digging the Microsoft Band. I’ve worn various fitness trackers for a couple of years now, starting with the original Jawbone UP and most recently the new Fitbit Charge.

I’ve had mixed results with them, and none have became indispensable. The Microsoft Band, on the other hand, is rapidly becoming a fixture on my wrist. It’s a great omen for the Apple Watch, which is due in early 2015. The Apple Watch will be like the Microsoft Band on steroids, and if it works as well, it’s going to be awesome.