Fitbit is in a bit of a predicament. Fitbit’s CEO, James Park, recently recounted in a New York Times piece his surprise that the company’s Fitbit Blaze wasn’t well received during its introduction at CES this year. Fitbit essentially developed what was seen as a weak competitor to the Apple Watch. Is this really a fair comparison?
Founded in 2007, Fitbit is “dedicated to health and fitness who are building products that help transform people's lives.” They’re all about making fitness fun and motivating, while at the same time, giving people useful information about their fitness and sleep. Apple, on the other hand, needs very little introduction; we know who they are, even if we can’t really define them. Are they a media company? A device company? A computer company? All of the above? It doesn’t really matter, people love their products and Apple has the cash in the bank to prove it.
Regardless how companies position themselves, consumer perception is what will determine a company’s future.
Fitbit, intentionally or not, designed a product that is a stripped down version of the Apple Watch. In fairness to Fitbit, their Blaze can hold a charge for a few days, and tracks sleep--two very important features that would be great on the Apple Watch. They also boast call, text, and calendar alerts, as well as music control.
The Apple Watch, on the other hand, tracks fitness, syncs with an iPhone, which means users receive the same alerts the Blaze offers and more. However, Apple Watch users can act on notifications right from their watches. And while the Apple Watch doesn’t track sleep out of the box, users can download apps that do so. CNET recently put out a video where a few of its staff shared their views on the Apple Watch one year later. And while many weren’t suggesting that users purchase an Apple Watch today, it has the potential to bring a much more interactive experience for users in its future versions, and it may very likely solve the battery issue.
Our take is that Fitbit will be fine in the short term--they offer a nice variety of inexpensive to expensive fitness trackers that have appeal; however, when a consumer is looking at the Blaze, they may decide to spend $100 more and get an Apple Watch.