Apple Watch 4, Elusive AirPods 2, Withings Returns, Fitbit Innovates

Well, what a year you’ve been, 2018. The wearables market has grown exponentially, not least thanks to stratospheric sales of Apple Watch Series 3 and latterly the latest Series 4.

Apple Watch Series 4 in gold stainless steel finish.Apple

There have been rumors of AirPods 2, repeatedly, and full of promise, but no appearance yet. So you know, I’m calling it, AirPods 2 won’t go on sale until 2019. Seriously, I’m pretty confident the next 11 days won’t yield a surprise reveal.  Call me psychic.

The Year in Wearables is a special edition of the Week in Wearables. That is a news digest, out each week, focused on some of the things that have happened in the world of tech you can wear on your wrist, perch on your head, stick in your ear, sling around your waist, tuck into the small of your back or, well, you get the idea. The latest Week in Wearables appeared yesterday.

One of the resulting screens when the ECG measurement is taken.Apple

Apple Watch Series 4

This year was big for Apple Watch. It was the first time since the Watch went on sale in 2015 that the design had changed, introducing a bigger case size, strikingly better display with curved edges and a lot more power.

The ECG/EKG monitoring capability, combined with Fall Detection to spot if you’ve taken a tumble, ramped up the Watch’s health monitoring credentials. And the Watch continued to drive the increased interest in the wearables market.

So, what next?

In 2019, expect more countries to join the U.S. in having the ECG feature – right now it’s only been cleared by the FDA, so it’s U.S.A. only.

And the next model, doubtless to be announced early in September, may increase health capabilities further, including the sleep tracking features I’ve been asking about for forever.

Apple’s opening video at its recent keynote features AirPods.Apple

Apple AirPods

Nothing, literally nothing, changed about those cute little smart earbuds in 2018. But there were slews of rumors that they would. Indeed, the iPhone launch event had a hint from Apple itself that new functionality would be added.

Or, at the very least, the wireless charging case promised when the AirPower charging pad was announced, would reach market.

So, what next?

AirPods 2, with hands-free invoking of Siri will be here. My guess is it will be in the first two months of the year, alongside AirPower, though nothing has been announced and things can slip.

Withings Pulse HRWithings


Only last year, Withings, the French health gadget company, became Nokia. It didn’t work out that well and Withings has returned with new logos, new products and a greater than ever focus on health monitoring.

The latest gadget, the Pulse HR is typical Withings: snappily designed, full of tech and a breeze to use.

So, what next?

Fans of the Body Cardio bathroom scales will know that it used to measure pulse wave velocity, something that relates to heart health by measuring the speed that blood flows through your veins, along a lot of other metrics. This was removed for regulatory reasons. I believe Withings will want to get this sorted.

The Fitbit Charge 3Fitbit


The year included two big releases, the second smartwatch, called the Versa and the Fitbit Charge 3 which included a heart rate sensor and SPO2 sensor for measuring oxygen saturation. Sleep tracking was improved, Charge 3 included Fitbit Pay on a special edition and apps were added to the Fitbit OS which has just reached version 3.0. All of which kept Fitbit’s reputation for accuracy alive and ensure the company stayed front-and-center in the world of wearables.

So, what next?

While former rivals like Jawbone and Pebble have vanished or been bought, Fitbit is edging gently forward and keeping its mission to track fitness its core goal. Smartwatches are beginning to eat into the fitness trackers’ natural market, so expect innovation and imagination from Fitbit to keep it current.

Samsung Galaxy Watch in the smaller, 42mm, size in Rose Gold.Samsung


Well, the big event was the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Though rumors suggested it might be an Android Wear device, Samsung kept it in the Samsung-owned Tizen world. Adding a cellular version meant it could boast the same commitment to freedom that Apple had.

So, what next?

The next year may see more of the same but it’s likely the Samsung wearables market will become more integrated than ever with Galaxy phones. If any company can pull a surprise out of the hat, it’s going to be Samsung.

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like these:

Apple Watch Series 4 Health Features Help Smartwatches Reach 1 In 10 US Adults In 2019

Apple Watch Series 4 ECG Heart Rate Feature Now Live: Here’s All You Need To Know

AirPods 2: New Patent Reveals Noise-Canceling, Biometrics And Profound Design Change

AirPods 2 New Rumor: Coming Early 2019, All-New Design In 2020

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