In a wider piece on Fitbit and its efforts to escape from the shadow of Apple, The New York Times shared an interesting anecdote about the way the iPhone 4s influenced the features in Fitbit's line of fitness trackers back when it debuted in 2011.

The iPhone 4s was the first iPhone to include support for Bluetooth 4.0 to allow accessories to connect to the device, and following the introduction of the new phone, Fitbit CEO James Park decided to re-engineer Fitbit products to support Bluetooth. It was a decision that set Fitbit's product releases back by six months.

fitbitone

When Phil Schiller introduced the iPhone 4S in 2011, for example, Mr. Park had a realization.

At the time, the new iPhone added a capability to synchronize with wireless accessories using the standard called Bluetooth. Fitbit trackers back then lacked Bluetooth connectivity, but Mr. Park wanted them to be able to synchronize data immediately with the iPhone.

"It could enable a lot of possibilities in terms of real-time feedback," he said.

Announced in 2012, the Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip became the first Fitbit devices to support Bluetooth 4.0, syncing data like steps tracked, distance, floors climbed, calories expended, and sleep quality to iOS and Android phones. According to The New York Times, the two devices were highly successful.

Since then, Park says Fitbit has made an effort to stray away from Apple's approach to product design, focusing on simple devices to make wearables more approachable.

"We look at it from a consumer point of view," Mr. Park said. Apple Watch "is a computing platform, but that's really the wrong way to approach this category from the very beginning."

Fitbit's simplicity, and its lower price point, has allowed it to thrive even after the launch of the Apple Watch. Fitbit sold 21.4 million devices in 2015, earning $1.86 billion in revenue. While Apple doesn't break out sales of the Apple Watch, IDC and Strategy Analytics estimates put sales at approximately 11.4 million.

Going forward, Fitbit plans to add additional features to compete in the wearables market, but Park says the company is going to be "very careful" to avoid the feature overload mistake he sees being made with smart watches.

Tag: Fitbit

Top Rated Comments

diegogaja Avatar
88 months ago
Um...you DO realize you can control what notifications show up, right? Everything between all and none...


I like my Fitbit Flex, but it's affordable and not distracting. I'd love an Apple Watch, but I don't want to deal with my wrist lighting up with notifications all day.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Studioman Avatar
88 months ago
('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/05/02/iphone-4s-fitbit-bluetooth-2011/')


Since then, Park says Fitbit has made an effort to stray away from Apple's approach to product design, focusing on simple devices to make wearables more approachable.Fitbit's simplicity, and its lower price point, has allowed it to thrive even after the launch of the Apple Watch. Fitbit sold 21.4 million devices ('https://investor.fitbit.com/press/press-releases/press-release-details/2016/Fitbit-Reports-712M-Q415-and-186B-FY15-Revenue-Guides-to-24-to-25B-Revenue-in-FY16/default.aspx') in 2015, earning $1.86 billion in revenue. While Apple doesn't break out sales of the Apple Watch, IDC and Strategy Analytics estimates put sales ('https://www.macrumors.com/2016/03/17/idc-apple-watch-forecast-2016-to-2020/') at approximately 11.4 million.
So Fitbit selling 21 million devices in after being on the market for 4 years with multiple products is impressive, but Apple selling over half as many in its first few months is a failure?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac 128 Avatar
88 months ago
"We look at it from a consumer point of view," Mr. Park said. Apple Watch "is a computing platform, but that's really the wrong way to approach this category from the very beginning."
This is exactly right. Whether one looks at it as a watch or a high tech "wearable", it's about how the individual will incorporate the device into their life, onto their person, and into their wardrobe. For all those who say a round watch will never happen because the UI is too difficult and too contrary to function, this is the reason right here.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crzyrio Avatar
88 months ago
I refuse to buy Fitbit until they have Health Kit Integration.

I currently only have their Aria scale and luckily myfitnesspal syncs the weights from fitbit and puts it in health kit :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ikir Avatar
88 months ago
Another killer feature? Health support... Fitbit wake up
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
88 months ago
"We look at it from a consumer point of view," Mr. Park said.
right, apple wasn't thinking of the consumers at all.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.3.1 Update for iPhone as Wait for iOS 16.4 Beta Continues

Thursday February 2, 2023 6:41 am PST by
Apple appears to be preparing an iOS 16.3.1 update for the iPhone, based on evidence of the software in our website's analytics logs this week. It's unclear when the update will be released, but it will likely be available at some point in February. The same logs have accurately foreshadowed the release of several previous updates, including iOS 16.0.3 and iOS 16.1.1 most recently, so they...
dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
MKBHD HomePod 2 White Ring Stain

New HomePod Can Still Stain Some Wooden Surfaces

Tuesday January 31, 2023 8:29 am PST by
When the original HomePod launched in 2018, it was discovered that the speaker can leave white rings on some wooden surfaces. Now, well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee has confirmed that the issue persists to a lesser extent with the new HomePod. In a side-by-side test, he showed that the white second-generation HomePod left a white ring on the wooden surface that he placed the speaker on,...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
iOS 16

When Will the iOS 16.4 Beta Be Released?

Wednesday February 1, 2023 11:09 am PST by
It's been more than a week since Apple released the iOS 16.3 update, and typically, new iOS betas follow launches within a day or so. We were expecting Apple to provide the first beta iOS 16.4 on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, but that hasn't happened. Tuesdays are the days that we most often see betas, though Monday and Wednesday happen now and then, and most often betas come...