6 reasons why Apple Watch will kill activity trackers (and 6 reasons it won't)

Apple Watch owners and users of dedicated fitness trackers, such as Fitbits, share opinions on why smartwatches will eventually make trackers obsolete, as well as reasons why fitness gadgets will remain relevant … at least for a few more years.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

Why a smartwatch might be a better fit than an activity tracker

We contacted 12 consumers who regularly wear an Apple Watch, or a Fitbit or other dedicated activity tracker, and requested feedback. Of those dozen sources, seven voted for the Apple Watch, and five say they prefer dedicated trackers.

Here are six reasons why the majority of sources favor the Apple Watch over fitness trackers.

1) Smartwatches offer more functionality than activity trackers

"One of the best parts about my Apple Watch is it tells me every hour to stand up and move around," says Crystal Stranger, Enrolled Agent (EA) and president of 1st Tax. "I also can leave my phone on silent and my Watch tells me when I have a text or call. These small conveniences really add up in your day and give so much more than just an activity tracker would."

2) Apple Watch is an all-in-one gadget

"Consumers crave all-in-one devices," adds Andrew Tropeano, host of NewsWatch. "When a smartwatch comes out that can replace their activity trackers but also last more than 24 hours, the decline of the activity tracker will begin. But don't expect companies like Fitbit to go down without a fight. Some of the market leaders in the activity space will most likely produce their own versions of a smartwatch that can compete with Apple and Samsung."

3) Apple Watch integrates with other iOS devices

The "Apple ecosystem is all interconnected," says author Michael M. Hughes. "If you have an iPhone already, why get a fitness tracker that doesn't integrate? Having everything tied together — fitness tracking, timepiece, messages and alerts, email, phone, payments, etc. — just makes things easier and eliminates a lot of friction."

Hughes adds that he replaced his Fitbit with an Apple Watch, and he is "totally satisfied. I'm especially looking forward to seeing what developers will do with native Watch apps in the fall. That will really open up the possibilities of the Apple Watch."

apple watch leather loop band Brian Sacco

This type of integration is a key reason why Apple Watch will eventually prevail, according to Edward Riefle, founder, PostalZen. "People don't want to have 10 different kinds of chargers and 10 different devices. They want convenience."

4) Endless possibilities for smartwatch features

The Apple Watch has a significant advantage over fitness trackers thanks to the potential for even more useful features down the road, according to Bob Pluss, CFO and user experience lead for Race Roster

"I can program my Apple Watch to open my garage door as I finish my bike ride. The Apple Watch prevents me from fully reading emails or text messages on my phone as often as I used to, eliminating a typical workout distraction," Pluss says. "The notifications for texts and email act as a quick filtering system on how important a message may be while not requiring me to read through it at that moment. Additionally, since buying an Apple Watch, I've taken phone calls in the middle of a bike ride without having to stop my workout."

(Race Roster, a developer of software that "empowers a community to gather, move and fundraise" through organized endurance events, recently purchased Apple Watches for all 40 of its staffers.) 

5) Apple Watch is more motivational than fitness trackers

"Filling the circles [the visual representation of three "Activity" metrics] has become an obsession for many Apple Watch early adopters," says Rob Samson, practice lead for Web and mobile applications, nfrastructure. "As a former Fitbit user of many years, I find the simple visual cue in the corner of my watch face to be a far more motivating reminder than my Fitbit step-count ever was."

6) Apple Watch could detect and prevent serious illness

Apple thinks a smartwatch's activity tracking should not just be about standing and moving; it should also be about preventing serious illness, according to Rajeev Kapoor, health practice partner, A.T. Kearney. Apple's open-source ResearchKit is designed to let developers create iOS apps for medical research and diagnostics that use sensors in iPhones and Apple Watches. By comparison, dedicated fitness trackers haven't "positioned themselves for prevention," Kapoor says.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)