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
65 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
65 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
65 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
65 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
65 months ago
Another killer feature? Health support... Fitbit wake up
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
65 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)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...