With the popularity of Fitbit’s devices dropping, Intel abandoning wearables, and Jawbone liquidating its business, it’s been a very unhealthy summer for the fitness tracking industry. Apple, on the other hand, is looking good.
According to recent research by IDC, Apple is neck-and-neck in a race with low-cost wearable maker Xiaomi for first place in fitness tracking. And Apple may have found a partner to push it ahead in the health insurance giant Aetna.
Apple and Aetna reportedly met in secret last week to discuss bringing Apple Watches to Aetna’s 23 million customers, reports CNBC. In Sept. 2016, Fortune reported that Aetna had agreed to subsidize a portion of the Apple Watch’s cost to promote health, manage care, and monitor use of medication.
It’s not clear how the two industry giants’ agreement may change moving forward, but the “invitation-only meetings” spanned last Thursday and Friday, and “included executives from Aetna and Apple as well as hospital chief medical information officers across the country,” says the CNBC report.
Rumors abound about the next Apple Watch, which could be unveiled in September alongside new iPhone hardware. The presumed “Series 3” version of the wearable is said to come with an LTE chip that would let users wear it untethered from an iPhone. Speculation is that the yet to be announced Apple Watch could provide diabetes monitoring, but the need for regulatory approval of such a device makes that less likely, say experts.
As secretive as Apple is about its planned products, it’s unlikely that we’ll know Apple Watch Series 3’s full capabilities until it is released.