Reports: New Apple Watch Coming in 2016 Could Have Additional Health Tracking Sensors

A customer inspects an Apple Watch at the Apple Store on June 17 in San Francisco California Photo by Justin SullivanGetty Images
<p>A customer inspects an Apple Watch at the Apple Store on June 17 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.)</p>

Apple, Cupertino, California, is planning a March 2016 event to unveil the second generation of its Apple Watch, according to 9to5Mac, citing sources with knowledge of the plans.

The second generation Apple Watch may feature smart bands to add additional health tracking sensors to the device, Europe-based news website reported in August. The bands, which would attach to the watch hardware around the wrist, could feature a blood oxygen sensor, respiratory rate sensor, blood pressure sensor and temperature sensor, according to the report, citing sources.

The first-generation Apple Watch uses LED sensors built into the watch hardware to monitor blood flow and measure the user's heart rate. However, Apple's website says that many factors can lead to inconsistent readings with the current heart rate sensor, including skin perfusion, the type of activity or changes to the skin.

Apple was the No. 2 worldwide wearables vendor in the third quarter with 3.9 million unit shipments and an 18.6 percent market share, according to a report issued last week by the International Data Corporation (IDC). The 3.9 million unit shipments marked an increase of 300,000 units over the second quarter. End users have been drawn toward the entry-level Apple Watch Sport line, according to the IDC.

Apple was challenged for the No. 2 position by Chinese vendor Xiaomi, which shipped 3.7 million units in the third quarter and had a market share of 17.4 percent. More than 97 percent of Xiaomi's units were shipping into China.

Fitbit, San Francisco, maintained its No. 1 position in the worldwide wearables market on the strength of its Charge and Surge models in the third quarter with 4.7 million unit shipments and a 22.2 percent market share. The IDC report noted Fitbit's Corporate Wellness division, which added Target and its order of 335,000 trackers for its employees.

Another Chinese vendor, XTC, debuted in the report by unseating Samsung as the world's No. 5 wearables vendor with 700,000 shipped units in the third quarter for 3.1 percent of market share. Like Xiaomi, XTC's focus was exclusively in China. It had only one device, the Y01 children's phone watch.

"The early stages of the wearables market have led to tight competition among the leading vendors, and Chinese vendors have seized upon market momentum to grab market share," Ramon Llamas, research manager for IDC's Wearables team, said in a statement. "China has quickly emerged as the fastest-growing wearables market, attracting companies eager to compete on price and feature sets. In addition, multiple vendors have experimented with a broad range of products and applications. The challenge, however, is whether these vendors can expand their presence, as few have extended beyond the country's borders and into other markets."

Garmin, Schaffhausen, Switzerland, ranked No. 4 on the IDC report with 900,000 shipped units in the third quarter and 4.1 percent market share. The IDC noted Garmin's focus on citizen athletes with wearables for running, golf, swimming, hiking and aquatics.

The shipment volume worldwide among all vendors for the third quarter totaled 21 million units, marking a 197.6 percent increase from the 7.1 million units shipped in third quarter 2014. The worldwide total in second quarter 2015 was 18.1 million units.

"The average smart watch or band came in at just over $400 and the average basic watch band at $94," Jitesh Urbani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers said in a statement. "This leaves a lot of room for new players like Fossil and niche players like Pebble as they have an opportunity to address this space."

In November, Fossil Group Inc., Richardson, Texas, entered into an agreement to purchase wearable manufacturer Misfit, Burlingame, California, for $260 million. The acquisition will enable Fossil to scale Misfit's technology across the Fossil, Skagen and a targeted portfolio of 16 brands in 2016, which the company said will accelerate its connected accessory roadmap. 


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