Apple held its annual WWDC recently, and thanks to the pandemic, it was the first time that the tech giant gave a keynote without an audience. That didn’t stop Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team from unveiling a whole host of new products and features across the Apple ecosystem, including iOS 14 and its own silicon for its computers (Apple had used Intel-based processors in Macs for years). In the wearables category, Apple also revealed several big changes coming to its next watchOS update, watchOS 7.
There were a few features announced to ensure that Apple Watch stays competitive with other products on the market, like Fitbit. Sleep tracking has been a much-requested feature by the Apple Watch user base for some time now, and Apple is finally introducing that functionality with watchOS 7. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure® survey, 30% of wearables users track sleep even though Apple does not yet support this feature. Interpret’s data shows that the Apple Watch user base is twice as large as Fitbit’s, so once sleep tracking is made available in conjunction with the iPhone’s new sleep mode (which will limit access to selected apps so users can begin winding down), the percentage of wearables users who track their sleep should spike significantly.
Another upgrade to help Apple Watch compete on fitness is the inclusion of four new workouts. The Activity app in iOS is being renamed Fitness, and along with it Apple is bringing functional strength training and core training, cooldown stretching, and dance, which incorporates special “advanced sensor fusion” to detect when just your arms or just your legs are moving, or when a person is dancing with their whole body. This helps Apple Watch provide more accurate heartrate measurements.
The battle in the wearables market is likely to heat up now that Google owns Fitbit. As always, Interpret will be keeping a close eye on the data.