All the whispers and smaller stories from the week gone by
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Apple took to the stage earlier this week to announce the Apple Watch Series 4.
And while the collective tech world has been positively giddy over the potential of the new smartwatch, it’s not the only new wearable we saw unveiled this week. Polar debuted it’s new Vantage V and M watches, the Montblanc Summit 2 got a run-out at Qualcomm’s new chipset launch and Elvie claims to have made the world’s first silent breast pump.
With so many launches, there’s plenty of smaller tidbits that have otherwise been swept under the carpet. But not here. No, at And finally, we give you four lighter news hits from the past week to gorge on – read on below for details on Apple’s Heart Study, Fitbit’s stock woe and the NFC edition of the Xiaomi Mi Band 3.
Apple’s AFib accuracy revealed through its own Heart Study
After the Watch Series 4 leaked early, there was plenty we already knew before Apple eventually pulled back the curtain – but one of those things wasn’t an electrical heart rate sensor that could take an ECG reading.
The move, as we discuss in our ECG heart monitoring guide, will mean Apple can now take the first step towards genuine medical tracking. And the first condition it’s targeting is atrial fibrillation – or AFib, if you prefer.
However, a company can’t simply decide it’s aiming to track this, since poor accuracy could potentially mislead users and have life-threatening consequences. In order to gain clearance for providing ECG readings, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had to review a study (the Apple Heart Study first announced in last year’s keynote) conducted by Apple and Stanford university whereby the accuracy of the tech inside the Watch Series 4 was put to the test.
The study, which included 588 individuals (half who were healthy, half who had AFib), was able to identify with 98% the patients who had AFib, and with 99% accuracy the patients who had healthy heart rates. Cardiologists were also able to read 90% of the total measurements, with the other 10% being unreadable.
Naturally, these figures (first reported by Quartz) show that Apple’s new heart rate smarts don’t simply render the professional ECG technology used in hospitals redundant. This is still AFib detection at its most basic, it would appear, and that means it won’t be absolutely perfect, but it does represent a mammoth first step on the road to more advanced health monitoring.
Xiaomi shifts five million Mi Band 3 trackers
Despite only launching a few months ago, Chinese giant Xiaomi has announced via social network Weibo it’s already managed to ship five million units of its Mi Band 3 fitness tracker.
Sticking with the theme of previous generations, the company’s third generation band is able to offer GPS, sleep tracking, notification support and much more for the ultra-low price of ~£25. After Xiaomi revealed it sold one million Mi Band 3 devices in just 17 days in its own territory, the figures hardly comes as a surprise.
And they might just be set to ramp up even more, with the NFC version first teased during launch set to go on sale on 19 September. The tracker will feature all the same bells and whistles as the standard Mi Band 3, though the inclusion of the NFC chip means wearers can use access contactless payments from the wrist. Again, like the regular variant, the NFC edition will be available to those on a budget, costing just 199 yuan – or roughly £30.
Fitbit stock suffers after Apple announcement
Following Apple event on Wednesday (12 September), Reuters indicated that shares of rival Fitbit were down 3.7%.
It comes after Fitbit began to turn the ship after a strong Q1 and Q2 performance on the back of the Versa, though it appears investors believe that the Series 4, as well as a price drop to the Series 3, will be enough for Apple to extend its lead over the company and other rivals over the latter stages of 2018 and beyond. Garmin’s shares were also flat following the announcement, which ended a run of recent gains by the company.
Only time will tell if the share prices match up with the eventual performance from the wearable giants, with Q3 coming to a close at the end of September, and Q4 representing the business end of the financial year for tech companies.
One61 launches DC Comics smartwatch trio
It’s not all about high-powered smartwatches, you know. Sometimes, watch-wearers just want to have fun, and now they can with One61’s DC-inspired watches.
Fans of the comic book universe are able to pick up a device in the style of Batman, The Flash or Wonder Woman, with exclusives handed out to those who meet step goals use alerts to stay active. The trio are all compatible with both iOS and Android devices, meaning access to camera, contacts, calls and messages and voice assistant are all available through the watches.
The Batman and Flash devices will set buyers back $124.99 from One61’s website, while the all-new Wonder Woman device is a touch more expensive, at $149.99.