Beleaguered Fitbit has no answer for Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3 (left) costs $199. Beleaguered Fitbit's Versa 2 (right) costs 95-cents more and does a whole lot less.
Apple Watch Series 3 (left) costs $199. Beleaguered Fitbit’s Versa 2 (right) costs 95-cents more and does a whole lot less.

In Wired‘s recent review of Fitbit’s latest Apple Watch wannabe, the Fitbit Versa 2 earns a rather bad score of 6 out of 10 due to some “some big flaws.”

Fitbit lowered guidance in its second quarter earnings by $95 million to $1.45 billion after sales of the $160 Versa Lite came in lower than expected. For the full fiscal year, beleaguered Fitbit now expects a loss of 31 cents to 38 cents a share, significantly worse than the 15 cents per share previously expected.

CNBC’s Todd Haselton also reviewed the Fitbit Versa 2, calling it “nice-looking” – no surprise there as it’s a rote knockoff of the Apple Watch design – but there’s no built-in GPS, meaning Fitbit Versa 2 wearers have to carry their phones if they want run/walk tracking. Apple Watch Series 3 has built-in GPS. Haselton also writes that the Fitbit Versa 2’s “software is outdated, it lacks GPS and doesn’t have as seamless a music or app experience as other wearables. For $200, you should expect that.” (See: Fitbit’s new $200 watch… way behind the Apple Watch.)

Zac Hall for 9to5Mac:

Apple Watch Series 5 is here with an always-on display and newly added compass, but Apple’s $200 entry level model is worth a serious look for buyers on a budget. Apple Watch Series 3 matches the new Fitbit Versa 2 in price while offering much deeper iPhone integration…

After a week of wearing Apple Watch Series 3 exclusively, I have to admit that I’ve wondered why I needed to upgrade last year and this year. Easy excuse: I’m a technology journalist. But you don’t have to have the newest Apple Watch to have the Apple Watch experience.

The $199 Apple Watch Series 3 was the state-of-the-art smartwatch not long ago, and it started at $329 at that. Now it’s cheaper than Fitbit’s most advanced smartwatch… If you’re in the market for a smartwatch or fitness tracker, Apple Watch is at the top of its class in both categories — and Series 3 is an excellent recommendation at its budget-minded new price.

MacDailyNews Take: Beleaguered Fitbit simply cannot compete against the world’s best-selling watch.

We’d like to see Apple scoop up Fitbit for the only thing they have of value – their siloed steps data and installed base – and free that steps data so Fitbit wearers can move up to Apple Watch and still share and compete in steps with their friends and family members.

Fitbit is the Palm of the twenty-tens. (And, BTW, we type that with Fitbits on our wrists. Apple should buy Fitbit just for the user base, merge Fitbit’s steps and other data into the Apple Watch, and be done with it. Then we could use our Apple Watches to compete with Fitbit-wearing friends and family who haven’t yet made the leap to Apple Watch and ditch these Fitbit Flex bracelets that we don’t want to wear, keep charged, etc. The only thing keeping Fitbit alive is their legacy user base and sequestering their step data.)MacDailyNews, January 25, 2018


  1. The problem was that Fitbit rested on their laurels before coming out with a smart watch.
    They enjoyed a lot of market share before the AppleWatch came out. But even before it did I saw two for one deals at Costco for the Fitbit.
    Going for market share never works out in the long term if you are not making a good margin. No profit means big debt, reduced ability to innovate for the future and no ability to react effectively to competition.
    Apple has done this in so many markets. They now how to innovate and make excellent products that can be sold at a profit. I feel a bit sorry for Fitbit but we all knew this would happen.

  2. A major reason why Apple wouldn’t buy Fitbit is because it works on Android as well as iOS. Apple has no way to secure a watch tied to Android, and so they wouldn’t try it. It’s likely the major reason why the Watch is only available on iOS, and the iPhone, with Apple’s own SoC with Apple’s Secure Enclave module. And it certainly doesn’t pay to buy it for the reasons MDN is stating. It also doesn’t meet Apple’s manufacturing and esthetic standards.

    But in the years I’ve been buying Watchs, Apple has, slowly but surely, been moving the watch to independence from the iPhone. It’s certainly possible that they can have the Watch download and install its own updates too. If so, then very possibly Android users could buy it.

    While $300 is too much for most Android users for a watch, $200 isn’t. Apple could get a big expansion in sales if they could do that, and I’m pretty sure they’re trying to.

    1. Apple Watch stays linked to iPhone because Apple does NOT want Android users to use it. Apple Watch helps sell more iPhones. The close interaction between Watch and iPhone is a key selling point, only possible because Apple controls both devices. Watch will do more things independently of iPhone, but Apple is not making Watch independent of iPhone, so that it interacts less elegantly with Android phone. And Watch by itself would be an inferior experience; Apple wants customers to have full iPhone/Watch experience.

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