Fitbit Attempting To Add Greater Health Indicators To Fitness Wearables

Wearables go hand in hand with daily fitness duties for many, but what if there was a way to use these devices to measure better metrics for long term health?

This, in a hard to explain a nutshell for a fitness dummy such as myself, appears to be exactly what Fitbit is attempting to pull off with their new Active Zone Minutes (AZM) feature.

Available on all Fitbit wearables, the AZM is a new form of heart metric that goes beyond general step activity to provide the user with greater acctivity targets for improved health and well-being.

According to Fitbit data scientist Aubrey Browne, understanding the data behind AZMs and improved understanding of health is key to users.

“Our cross-sectional analysis shows a clear association between the acquisition of AZMs and our users having the tools they need to improve their health. Now that the feature is available for the masses, we are excited to use this physical activity metric further in longitudinal analyses,” Brown said.

But what does that actually mean? Basically, an AZM is a measure of active minutes recommended to the user, a.k.a how long they should be doing different types of physical activity based on their current health, age. and lifestyle statistics already in use across Fitbit apps.

The science that has emerged to sit behind the AZM is interesting.

After launching AZM on wearables in back in March, over 20,000 Fitbit users data showed that the more AZM’s a user logs each week (through increased exercise and activity), the better long term health indicators a user sees. This is based on lower Resting Heart Rate (RHR) and Body Mass Index (BMI).

For dummies like me, think of it in these simplistic terms:

With the AZM feature enabled on your Fitbit wearable, and assuming you’re engaged in a certain amount of physical activity (whether that be Yoga, going for a run, dance class etc), you’ll soon be presented with a metric that can predict certain long term health indicators based on individual data.

I know, it’s all ranging into the territory of over the head mumbo jumbo for those who simply want to be a bit more active and lose a bit of weight.

But at least Fitbit are doing what they can to track what you’re currently doing from more than a purely data collection perspective and are entering into greater health tracking indication.

iPhone X To Retail From $1000USD In November

Apple are promising “the future of the smartphone” with the upcoming release of a special, tenth-anniversary edition of the iPhone, fittingly named the iPhone X. 

Revealed on Tuesday at the Steve Jobs Theater, the iPhone X will go on sale from November 3rd with pre orders starting in late October.

The iPhone 8 and 8Plus were also revealed, as well as Apple Watch Series 3 and a new design of Apple TV.

But really, it was all about the iPhone X.

iPhone X: The Future Of The Smartphone

Apple calls the iPhone X “the biggest leap forward for a smartphone”.

iPhone X comes in Space Grey and Silver, with a Super Retina Display featuring OLED technology with HDR. Measuring 5.8 inches, the iPhone X will feature a duel 12MP camera with optical image stabilisation.

There is no home button on the iPhone X; users can access the home screen by tapping the screen and swiping up. For unlocking the iPhone X, facial recognition software arrives in the form of FaceID.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

iPhone 8 And 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 will come in a standard and plus model, featuring a glass a design in both the front and back. Apple say the glass is the most durable “ever seen in smartphone”.

Retailing for $699 and $799 for the differing models, iPhone 8 releases on September 22nd.

iPhone 8 features an A11 Bionic chip, with a six-core CPU. An Apple-designed GPU promises to take full advantage of 3D games and other graphical intensive applications. The bionic chip also includes a pixel processor, and a hardware band noise reduction system.

Wireless charging will be supported thanks for Qi – and Apple promises cheap hardware from third party

iPhone 8’s rear facing camera is 12MP, and the plus model has two brand new sensors. In terms of video, Apple are promising the highest quality video capture ever seen in a smartphone.

Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3 features inbuilt cellular, allowing customers to remain fully connected without their iPhone. Calling, messaging, Siri, and Apple Music can all be used remotely. Series 3 has a new dual core processor, a W2 chip, and a multi-frequency antenna built into the screen.

The heart rate app has been enhanced to provide better detail, including a new notification system that tells the user when their heart rate is unusually high when not working out or engaging in physical activity.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The overall form factor for Series 3 is the same size as previous generations. Apple also revealed that the device has risen to become the world’s best-selling watch, surpassing Rolex.

For those not wanting cellular capabilities, a slightly cheaper version of the Series 3 will be available from September 23.

The Steve Jobs Theater

The new tech wasn’t all that was unveiled to the public. The keynote took place at the brand new Steve Jobs Theater, the venue widely believed to be the last major brainchild design of the iconic Apple founder prior to his passing.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

“It is the honour of a lifetime to be the first to welcome you to the Steve Jobs theater. It’s taken some time, but we can now reflect on him with fond memories and not sadness. His greatest gift is not a single product, but Apple itself, and we dedicate this theatre to him.”

The theatre is part of a brand new home base for Apple, fittingly named “Apple Park”. The venue is surrounded by lush, green forest, and is powered by renewable energy. A visitors centre will open later this year, and includes what Cook called an “innovative” Virtual Reality experience and a flashy new Apple store.

Apple Watch may give a new market the boost it needs

While the new Apple Watch will bring some really cool nifty new ways of having information at your wrists, Apple’s new venture in the tech market seems laughingly absurd to many still.

 applewatch-32-580-100

The Apple Watch was the worst kept secret in the technology industry, and during today’s event Apple finally gave the world some information on just what the watch will do exactly. The watch, using either Wi-Fi or usual 3/4/5G speeds will show users their latest messages, Facebook updates, and bring simplified versions of all those apps that users of Apple have come to know and love. 

Being able to check notifications just by looking at your wrist is a pretty cool deal it must be said. 

Apple claim that battery life of the Apple Watch will be enough to last all day, with the expected charging easily able to be done at night. So if you are the type to wear your watch to bed, the Apple Watch may be a slight annoyance. 

No release date was given and expect Apple to heavily promote this new venture over the coming months. 

Let’s be honest, the tech watch market hasn’t exactly taken off yet. If there is any company than can make it a success, it is Apple.

What concerns many is the reliability of the watches “instant anytime anywhere” update claims. The majority of data networks around the world are shaky at best and often connections cannot be made, especially in high populated areas like cities where everybody has a smartphone and is Facebook messaging and Tweeting to their legions of followers while waiting at the sidewalk traffic lights. The world is connected to the internet more now than ever. 

Under more solid Wi-Fi networks, like at home or in the office, the Watch should perform much better. 

At the beginning of this story the word absurd was used. But aren’t all new ideas that have an element of risk to them referred to as absurd? If Apple market this watch well and present a price that is affordable for everybody, this could be the product that finally gives the tech watch market the kick up the backside it needs. 

But make no mistake about it, the Apple Watch is cool, but it will have people laughing at it well after launch as the idea of tech watches slowly becomes a slightly normal and curious option for tech buyers.