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Apple Moves To Mimick Fitbit In Attempt To Bolster Apple Watch

Apple who is losing share in the smartphone market is now looking at expanding their smartwatch capability to include a sleep monitor as they try to take a dominant position in the health- and fitness-tracking market up against a surging Fitbit.

According to sources the Company has been testing a new sleep-tracking feature a move that will take them head on with Fitbit who has made a resurgence of late and is also testing new health and fitness features.

Fitbit’s sleep-tracking feature uses a heart-rate monitor and other sensors to determine when a user falls asleep, how long they are sleeping, and the quality of their sleep. It can differentiate between light, deep and REM sleep, according to the company’s website.

It’s tipped that Apple will add their new sleep tracking capability to the Apple Watch by 2020, according to one of the people.

According to Bloomberg the Apple Watch wouldn’t be the iPhone maker’s first foray into sleep-tracking hardware. In May 2017, Apple acquired Finnish start-up Beddit, which makes a sleep-tracking sensor strip. Apple sells the product on its website under the Beddit brand and launched an updated version at the end of last year.

The move to sleep tracking is being made as Apple tries to spin investors with information on it its plethora of other devices, including the Apple Watch after sales of the iPhone tanked due to high prices and the perception that their latest devices are not as technologically advanced as what Samsung is now delivering with their new Galaxy S10 range.

Apple hasn’t disclosed how many Apple Watches have been sold, but Strategy Analytics estimated the company shipped 4.5 million units in the third quarter, accounting for 45 percent of the market. The analyst firm said Apple lost some share last year to Fitbit.

Global smartwatch shipments are estimated to increase 40 percent in 2019 to 74.1 million units, Gartner Inc. said in a November report.

Before Apple launches new health- and fitness-related features for the Watch, it puts the functionality through rigorous testing at labs around its campus. The company also conducts in-house testing for new sensors on exercise equipment such as treadmills and bikes and has analysed the Watch’s swim-tracking feature with testers at on-site swimming pools. The company also has testing chambers to mimic outside weather conditions and monitor users’ breathing and perspiration.

One practical necessity for sleep tracking in a smartwatch is a battery that can last multiple days. Each Apple Watch model to date is advertised as being able to last a day with the need to charge it each night. In comparison, Fitbit’s watches with sleep tracking are marketed as being able to last as long as a week on one charge.

Some options may include Apple increasing the Watch’s battery life or creating a way to run sleep tracking overnight as part of a low-power mode. It could also just require a battery charge in the morning.

Apple’s Health application on iPhones has included a tab for sleep analysis data since its introduction in 2014. Currently, hours slept data is provided by the alarm clock function in the iPhone’s Clock app. The app also can pull in data from third-party sleep monitors.

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