This week in wearable news, a new rumor suggests AirPods are now so close you can almost touch them, Garminâ€™s $2,500 smartwatch draws attention, Fitbitâ€™s latest is reviewed and there are more stories of the Apple Watch potentially saving lives.
The Week in Wearables is a news digest, out midweek, focused on some of the things that have happened in the world of tech you can wear on your wrist, perch on your head, stick in your ear, sling around your waist, tuck into the small of your back or, well, you get the idea.
AirPods entering mass production, supply chain hints
Well, itâ€™s not like we havenâ€™t been waiting for the next AirPods, right? It looks like theyâ€™re nearly here.
I donâ€™t agree with everything Digitimes is predicting but itâ€™s encouraging stuff none the less. It says that two companies are gearing up for mass production of next-gen iPads and AirPods.
Where Iâ€™m not in agreement is the suggestion that theÂ now-confirmed Apple event for Monday, March 25Â will be the springboard that launches these products. My belief is that the event will be services-dedicated but that it may comment on the hardware, likely to be announced without an event, a little before.
Of course, Apple is likely to mention that the products are coming but the event itself looks like being laser-focused on services.
9to5Mac figures it could be that the products will be announced by press release as early as next week, which I think is possible. Though I also think onsale date will absotively, posilutely be after the March 25 event.
More here on Forbes.
Want a $2,500 smartwatch? Look no further
Of course, $2,500 isnâ€™t actually the most you can pay for a smartwatch. But itâ€™s up there. Brian Heater from TechCrunch reports.
Somewhere out there is a person willing to pay $2,500 for a smartwatch. Surprisingly, that individual has several high-end options from which to choose. And while the Garmin name doesnâ€™t exactly scream luxury, the company does know how to build a solid smartwatch â€” and these look pretty decent, to boot.Â
Maybe not $2,500 decent, but decent nonetheless.Â
TheÂ Marq GPS lineÂ puts the company in relatively rare air, with devices starting at $1,500. Asking people to spend luxury watch prices on a smartwatch is a pretty heavy lift, of course. At well over three times the cost of an Apple Watch, youâ€™re going to want the thing to last forâ€¦well, a long time.
Read more at Tech Crunch.
Fitbit Inspire HR
The newly announced Fitbit Inspire HR has already been reviewed, over at Wareable.
The Fitbit Inspire HR is an importantÂ fitness trackerÂ in Fitbit's timeline. It replaces the company's hugely popular Alta and Alta HR bands as it's most accessible fitness trackers â€“ but because it offers a clip-on design, it finally kills off the Flex, Zip and One.
At ÂŁ89.99, the Inspire HR is pretty wallet friendly, and sits below Fitbit's advancedÂ Charge 3, which offers more data, more advanced metrics and better suited to committed workouts.
It also feels like a move to stem the tide of Chinese tech companies like Xiaomi and brands like Amazfit who've started to infringe of Fitbit's territory with their own affordable, feature-packed trackers.
Fitbit's riposte isn't simply to cram in every feature under the sun, but to make its tracker better value for money while sticking to the formula that has made it a powerhouse in the world of wearables.
Swatchâ€™s Smartwatch Considered
Also at Wareable, Conor Allison makes some shrewd guesses at what the Swatch smartwatch will be like.
Swatch andÂ smartwatches, smartwatches and Swatch. For years now, we've been waiting for the Swiss watchmaker to enter the arena in some capacity, and for years we've been left waiting with empty wrists.
The ballet first began way back in the heady days of 2015, when Swatch CEO Nick Hayek hinted at the company's wearable plans, while calling the Apple WatchÂ “an interesting toy, but not a revolution”. Two years later, HayekÂ revealedÂ that the company was working on a smartwatch operating system named ‘Swiss OS', set for launch in late 2018.
Excitement ensued, everything went quiet, then a spokesperson for the company told Wareable back in October that it's “still planning to release an operating system” – and that it'd launch no later than early 2019.
With that in mind, an announcement should be just around the corner, so we've rounded up all the tiny seeds of information we have on Swatch's smartwatch debut, and speculated on where the Swiss company may lean.
More at Wareable.
The heart monitoring capabilities of Apple Watch have been long known, though AFib recognition and ECG features are only available in the U.S. just yet. But the stories of the Watch spotting heart issues grow every day. As reported at 9to5Mac.
First is another story about Apple Watchâ€™s ECG feature catching a nuanced heartbeat irregularity. Reddit userÂ sean_themightyÂ shared that his Apple Watch recorded a premature ventricular contraction. Sean immediately sent a PDF of the results to his doctor. She told him it was benign, but scheduled a follow-up appointment in person in a few weeks. She also mentioned that she was impressed that the Apple Watch ECG was able to catch the PVC.
Notably, Sean also has a friend who is a nurse who was critical of theÂ Apple Watch ECGÂ when it first launched, thinking it to be â€śworthless.â€ť After sharing his latest reading with her, he said she was also â€śvery impressed.â€ť
More on this and other Watch features praised on Reddit, at 9to5Mac.
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