Ahead of Apple Watch launch, Apple deals a massive blow to rival activity trackers

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Expels More Wearables From Store To Make Room For Apple Watch Next Month.

Numerous Apple Stores on both coasts have removed Nike Fuelband and Jawbone UP24 fitness wearables from their shelves, presumably to focus attention on the Apple Watch, which arrives April 24.

In preparation for Apple Watch’s launch on April 24, Apple has reportedly begun removing other wearables that could be seen as a threat from its retail stores. Re/code called Apple Stores in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and New York and found the stores were no longer stocking the Jawbone UP24 and the Nike+ FuelBand. Reception to the Watch has been mixed with most analysts expecting the device to sell well but some questioning the price and functionality of the wearable. However, as Nike recently took the move to make its FuelBand platform work exclusively using your iPhone’s integrated sensors, it appears some manufacturers may have been made aware of their impending removal.

While anything resembling a watch or rivalling fitness tracker has been removed, a few wearables are still available through the company’s online channels. While the move won’t have too much of an impact on Nike, which announced last year that it would stop producing the FuelBand, Fitbit could feel the hit. The Moto 360 and LG G Watch R rival will be available in a massive 38 different configurations on day one, with prices ranging from £299 to a staggering £13,5000. As for Nike, many believe that an agreement between Nike and Apple was struck long ago that Nike would exit the fitness tracker hardware business and focus on the software.

Apple has declined to comment on the move specifically, but it did tell Recode that it “regularly evaluates and makes changes to its merchandising mix.” Of course, this isn’t the first time Apple has done this. Mio CEO and founder Liz Dickinson told Re/code that her company did not sell a large volume through Apple Stores, though it did help with the prestige factor. Strategy Analytics expects Apple to ship 15 million of its watches in 2015, giving Apple a 55 percent share of smartwatch shipments out of the 28 million smartwatches expected to ship in 2015. Fitbit has been going more towards the smartwatch side of wearables with the recently introduced Fitbit Surge, which has a screen for getting notifications from your phone. If anyone’s going to figure them out, I’m guessing it will be Apple,” Fitbit CEO and cofounder James Park told me at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in January. “But I still feel like the price point is pretty high for most consumers.

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