The next Apple Watch might introduce a new feature Fitbit has offered for a long time

Hollis Johnson
  • Apple is working on adding built-in sleep-tracking technology to the Apple Watch, according to a new report.
  • Apple has indicated interest in sleep-tracking technology in the past, acquiring the sleep monitoring startup Beddit in May 2017.
  • Apple Watch competitor Fitbit has included sleep-tracking features in its wearables for years.

Apple is said to be developing a new feature for future versions of the Apple Watch that can monitor the wearer’s sleep, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The company has been testing the feature secretly at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters and hopes to bring it to the Apple Watch by 2020 if those trials are successful, the report says. Such a launch would give Apple’s smartwatch a key feature it’s been lacking that Fitbit devices have long offered.

Fitbit made notable improvements to its sleep-tracking technology in 2017 when it launched the Alta HR, which was among the first of its devices to support the company’s Sleep Stages feature. Sleep Stages, as its name implies, is capable of detecting light, deep, and REM stages of sleep, adding to the roster of sleep metrics Fitbit’s could measure such as sleep time and the number of times wearers wake up throughout the night. The Apple Watch doesn’t currently offer any native sleep tracking capabilities, but does support several third-party apps for sleep tracking, such as AutoSleep and Sleep++.

Apple has indicated that sleep tracking is an area of interest for the company in the past. In May 2017, it acquired Beddit, a startup that produces a sleep monitor to be placed on the mattress. Bringing sleep tracking to the Apple Watch would also seemingly fit with the company’s ambitions when it comes to revolutionising the health and fitness space. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company’s “greatest contribution” would be in its health efforts when speaking with CNBC earlier this year.

Apple and Fitbit are market leaders when it comes to wearable devices. In the second quarter of 2018, the Apple Watch was estimated to account for 41% of the smartwatch market share while Fitbit accounted for 21%, according to a report from Counterpoint Research.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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