In addition to being one of the more premium smartwatches on the market today, the Apple Watch is also a dedicated fitness-tracking and health-monitoring apparatus, boasting features like a built-in heart rate monitor, activity tracker, and full-compatibility with an ever-expanding assortment of iOS apps — reimagined for watchOS.
For all that Apple Watch can do, however, it’s still a luxury, ultra-niche market device. Not only does it cost a pretty penny, with entry-level models starting out at a couple hundred dollars apiece at retail. And, in order to use one in the first place, Apple Watch prospects have to ensure they also own a compatible iPhone to link it up to via Bluetooth — a costly proposition that may not bode well with some would-be users.
Yet, at the core of Apple Watch is a laundry list of features that form the basis of standalone fitness tracking devices, such as the myriad of offerings from FitBit, which are extremely popular among the active, fitness and health-minded crowd.
Recent market data collected by IDC even reflects that, while Apple shipped an impressive 4.6 million Apple Watches during the holiday quarter of 2016, Apple is still only No. 3 on the list — behind Fitbit and Xiaomi — of competing wearable vendors, who collectively shipped 33.9 million wearables during the same timeframe.
Wouldn’t it be ideal for Apple, then, if the company were to introduce a device more along the lines of a FitBit? Perhaps it wouldn’t be able to run apps, or boast a brightly-lit OLED display— but on the contrary, that may not be such a bad thing! Not only would a device along these lines be more cost-conscious, appealing to a much larger segment of the market at, say, a $100 to $150 price point (like the majority of FitBits), but it would also boast the brand-recognition, as well as the innovative, structural, and applicable capacities that Apple fans have come to expect from the company over the years.
Of course, while the likelihood of Apple ever releasing a product like that is still uncertain, there’s actually quite a bit of evidence suggesting that the company might be working on such a device. Back in October of 2015, for instance, Apple was awarded a patent for an ‘Apple Ring’, which embodied a device similar to Apple Watch — boasting health monitoring abilities and a small touchscreen — albeit packed in a more simplified, finger-fitted design. We haven’t heard much about the ‘iRing’ since then but what we do know is that Apple has been meeting secretly with FDA officials to discuss the possibility of developing a health monitoring apparatus of some sort.
Likewise, Apple has hired a number of health and fitness experts in recent months, who may or may not be working behind-the-scenes to help develop a wearable of unknown proportions, specifically for the active, fitness-minded among us.
So while we have little in the way of ‘hard evidence’ suggesting that Apple has another wearable device in the pipeline, it sure seems like a possibility the company would be well-served seizing on. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store, but in the interim, we have these beautiful concept images to sink our teeth into, courtesy of CultofMac.
Would you consider investing in a less expensive, Apple-branded wearable that focuses primarily on health and fitness tracking? Let us know in the comments!