Not only a sleep monitoring tool but also sensors to track cyclists, runners and swimmers are among the new functionalities set to be available on the forthcoming versions of the Apple Watch. The Cupertino-based tech giant is said to be carrying out a number of extended tests to improve its connected timepiece and carve out a leadership position in the booming smart wearables sector.
Photo credits: Shinya Suzuki/Flickr
The Apple Watch is looking to step up to the next level in terms of connected health, with the company said to be developing sleep tracking technology that can be integrated into forthcoming versions of the connected watch which has been updated every autumn since 2016. This new tool has apparently been tested for the past few months in Cupertino in the state of California, according to sources close to the tech giant who were responding to questions from US press agency Bloomberg. This would enable Apple to battle it out with Fitbit and Withings (previously Nokia Health) in the sleep tracking segment and more generally in the wellness and health coaching market.
Connected watch market on the up
There are already several Apple gadgets and devices dedicated to sleep monitoring. The Apple Health application, launched in 2014, offers a programme which analyses the hours of sleep based on iPhone wake-up alarms. It can also integrate data from third-party devices. Furthermore, Apple owns Beddit, a Finnish start-up which designs adhesive strips fitted with sensors which can track the rhythm and quality of sleep, and which have been available from the Apple Store since the former took over the latter in May 2017.
At a time when sales of its star product – the iPhone – are in decline, Apple is keen to extend its range, in particular in the "wearables, home and accessories" sector which generated some 17.4 billion US dollars in revenue for the firm in 2018. This includes the Apple Watch, which first hit the shelves in April 2015 and is thought to account for 45% of sales of all connected watches at the moment. Demand for this product is set to increase by 40% to reach 74.1 million units sold in 2019, according to a report published by Gartner Inc in November last year.
New monitors in test phase for cycling, running and swimming
While Apple is also in test phase with sensors for bikes and treadmills as well as a swimming tracking tool, the tech giant has yet to release any details on how its future sleep monitoring tool will work. According to Bloomberg, it may well resemble the Fitbit which is based on heartbeat analysis coupled with various other sensors which can detect the moment when a user falls asleep as well as the amount and quality of the sleep, since it has the ability to distinguish between the different phases.
The forthcoming Apple Watches are likely to be fitted with a battery giving them several days of autonomy as opposed to the 24 hours or so currently available before they need recharging. By comparison, Fitbit connected watches can run for an entire week on a single charge.
Cover photo credits: Apple
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