Why I love Microsoft’s fitness band, and what it means for Apple Watch

“I’m really digging the Microsoft Band. I’ve worn various fitness trackers for a couple of years now, starting with the original Jawbone UP and most recently the new Fitbit Charge,” Leander Kahney writes for Cult of Mac. “I’ve had mixed results with them, and none have became indispensable. The Microsoft Band, on the other hand, is rapidly becoming a fixture on my wrist. It’s a great omen for the Apple Watch, which is due in early 2015. The Apple Watch will be like the Microsoft Band on steroids, and if it works as well, it’s going to be awesome.”

“The killer feature of the Microsoft Band is, of all things, notifications. The Band buzzes when I get a text, phone call or calendar event, among other things,” Kahney writes. “I say “of all things,” because this was initially a feature I had little interest in. I bought Microsoft’s $200 fitness tracker for its fitness functions, especially the built-in heart-rate monitor… But the Band handles notifications intelligently. The things it notifies me about are the things I want to see: calendar events, reminders, incoming texts from my family.”

“I already got all this on my iPhone, of course, but the wrist is the best place to see this stuff. It’s natural and easy to quickly glance at your wrist to see if something warrants your attention. It’s a lot easier than pulling out your phone,” Kahney writes. “This all bodes well for the Apple Watch, which will handle notifications plus much, much more. Apple’s wearable will be a little more interactive. You will be able to respond to incoming messages with pictograms or canned responses, and you’ll be able to telegraph your heartbeat. I think this, plus notifications, will turn out to be the Apple Watch’s ‘killer app’ — the thing that drives people to buy and wear it… True, almost no one wears watches any more, but watches just tell the time. Add a host of other functions, and people will happily slap one on their wrist.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

Related article:
Microsoft unveils $199 iOS-compatible fitness band, health app – October 30, 2014


  1. What the hell! Am I in an alternate universe where Microsoft builds something that isn’t crap?

    In any case, good for MS. Without Ballmer they seem more open to making their stuff work smoothly with non-MS stuff. Having a competent competitor will make Apple better.

    1. As a fitness device (especially for running), it may be better. It has GPS, which Apple Watch does not have (unless you have your iPhone along for the run). Apple Watch can still track the run in a less accurate way, which works fine (like on my old iPod nano with Nike kit), but a GPS is better. The version of Apple Watch that is called “Sport” needs to have a built-in GPS.

      As a general use device, Apple Watch is without peer. And third-party developers will add to its functionality, beyond what Apple builds in.

            1. Yes I’m not sue why you need a Crystal ball when Apple has endlessly published its capabilities and we know the quality of Apple’s interface design. Of course a full sense of its capabilities can only be made when experiencing it first hand but that hardly dictates you need to be clairoyant, just a little imagination to help you along.

  2. i’ve been hanging out in this time period for awhile mostly cuz i’m waiting for this boy to kiss me. i know he wants to. sorry, i digress. i’ve decided to pass on the first iteration and wait for apple’s nano-watch. it’s gorgeous and has such a lovely and intelligent cosmetic discretion. i used to have one in the future. lol

    1. I had been wondering why a time traveller would stop here/now, as if it were the Best of Times, when almost nobody here/now believes it the Best. A few think the best is yet to come. Most insist the Good Old Days were best.

      Well it may be, that the Best of Times for each of us (as you have just reminded) is that time when love ripens.

          1. Dunno who originally said it –

            “Perhaps, as some wit remarked, the best proof that there is Intelligent Life in Outer Space is the fact it hasn’t come here. Well, it can’t hide forever – one day we will overhear it.”

            Arthur C. Clarke

      1. ‘….. is that time when love ripens.’

        you sound like hannah.
        and when love fails, i won’t be taking my makeup, accessories, tank tops or size 6 classic-long jeans. only those things of the heart. and maybe, my little heart-shaped necklace. and a pink nano-watch.

  3. I’ve worn a watch since I got my first on my eighth birthday, and have worn a Seiko Automatic my wife gave me 36 years ago. The Apple Watch got me interested in the subject and after studying conventional versions I’ve bought two in the past month, another Seiko and a Citizen. Unfortunately, now I have a desire for a quality Swiss made watch which will cost quite a bit more.

    I doubt if the Apple Watch will really have any affect on the luxury market, but sure could hurt the lower end makers. It will probably get many people to wear something on their wrist again. I am intrigued but not really hyped up to acquire one. We shall see.

      1. Well yeah, compared to most Swiss made watches, especially the automatics. I thought I’d seen it all with a $75,000 Rolex, but that was nothing compared to a Jacobs Co. model I saw on eBay for $399,000.

        Kinda weird when you consider that the highest priority of a time piece should be accuracy, and yet an inexpensive quartz movement is undoubtedly more precise than that outrageous contraption.

  4. Apple’s trying hard to make their device both highly functional and highly fashionable. The challenge is the thickness and the lack of water-proofing, which will interfere with both. But I suspect they’ll do alright with it.

    It’s interesting that they revealed it almost a year before they’ll introduce it for sale – that’s given the competition a lot of time and focus to get something similar out the door faster. I wonder if Apple shouldn’t have kept the details hidden, just teasingly announced that such a thing would show up in 2015, and then let the rumor create the necessary buzz. Anyone who spent money on an inferior alternative in the meantime would probably still buy a killer new Apple product anyway (as with the iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.), whereas others who could wait, would have, keeping the competition at bay.

    But right now, there’s really no mystery left in the Apple Watch, so people are still buying cheaper alternatives for the functions they’ve decided they need now. Perhaps the hype will build near release. Just not feeling it yet.

    1. If you think they showed all their cards on that day then you are very naïve. There is no way that would’ve happened. I’m sure there will be another event before it gets released.

  5. I have no interest in all about notifications or reminders because I’m retired and don’t have a busy schedule. I basically want an AppleWatch for advanced biometric sensor data. I’m not expecting a lot out of the first version of AppleWatch, but I hope it’s sturdy and does whatever it does precisely and consistently. I like wearing watches so I’ll be ready for the AppleWatch even if it’s bulky. I just don’t know if I’ll remember to charge it every night since I’ve been used to wearing maintenance-free Casio watches for years and I never have to think about them because they pretty much take care of themselves.

    It’s hard for me to imagine tens of millions of consumers buying an AppleWatch but only time will tell if my doubts are unfounded. I don’t see any killer feature that makes the AppleWatch a must-have device for the average consumer. I hope I’m wrong because I want to see Apple sell them by the truckload to make the naysayers look stupid.

    1. You can’t see the watch being a must have because you’re not interested in the main feature, notifications. I’m retired and notifications would be paramount to me. I have 2 to 4 city government meetings per month, several other committee meetings per month, and doctor appointments for the whole family every month. I’d love to get by on memory alone, but that’s not possible. Notifications would be fantastic for me.

      Aside from those considerations, Oregon is a no-cell-phone-while-driving state. It would be great to be able to glance at my wrist and deal with incoming phone calls and texts while driving.

      Another killer feature would be to be able to use it as a basic remote control for TV sets and stereos. That would be killer. Never another lost remote.

  6. Woohoo on ATV via YouTube. Big friggin deal!! Apple is slowly killing the product. Changing it from “Hobby” to product was the worst thing they did. It got treated better as a hobby than a product. They are orphaned it. They could have pulled out some money out of their cash horde to tell Sony that they wanted before anyone and put it through the ATV for free. Don’t get me wrong, I like U2, but they gave their album away for free and half of the people did not want it. Here they had a chance to take something that was shaking the world to the core and did not capitalize on it. Forget it I will not use my ATV to watch it though YouTube. I will watch it on my 360 that’s coming directly from MS.

  7. I purchased a Pebble when they went on sale a few weeks ago. I love it. The notifications are really great. I went jet skiing last week and kept my iPhone stowed away while my Pebble was able to alert me to any work related messages. Likewise, the iPhone can still be loud when on vibrate mode, so I can turn that off and get notifications on my wrist. Little things like getting the confirmation that my garage door is closed and the house is secure when I drive off is also nice to have on my wrist.

    I could go on and on, but the Pebble for me was a great example of how awesome the Apple Watch is going to be as it’s so much more advanced then the Pebble.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.