Week in wearable: Apple's health chips, Google Coach and Michael Kors watches

Here's what went down this week
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The fight for the wrist continues and this week it was all about the major players making moves to preserve the future of their smartwatch platform long term.

Apple and Google appear committed to making smartwatches a part of your life in the same way that a smartphone is. So how are they going to do that? We'll get into that below. Before that, we need to also talk about big changes incoming for Samsung Health, another big Fitbit sale on Amazon and details on a future of smart clothing event hosted by our pals at FashNerd.

Essential reading: Google Pixel watch investigation

But if you're more concerned with the headline-grabbing stories, we review the big three, plus we've picked out some of the best reads from the site to look at after you've had your big wearable tech news fix.

Apple wants to build health chips

Week in wearable: Apple's health chips, Google Coach and Michael Kors watches

Well, Apple hasn't officially announced that. But a host of job listings, that have been spotted over recent months, suggest that the company has designs to build custom health chips for future of wearables. Apple already keeps its chip-making in-house for other devices, so it wouldn't be all that surprising that it wants to make more of its own. It would also tie in with its bigger push into serious health tracking too.

But will it just be for reserved for future Apple Watches or does the company harbour ambitions to make other wearables? A patent that's surfaced suggests Apple still wants to make a serious health monitoring wearable. The patent that points to a device that can be worn anywhere on the body and take electrocardiogram (ECG) readings. The patent was filed back in 2016 and has since been awarded to Apple so maybe another dedicated wearable is indeed on the cards.

Google Coach coming to Wear watches

Week in wearable: Apple's health chips, Google Coach and Michael Kors watches

It's going to be an interesting next few months for the future of Google's smartwatch platform. In four years since Wear landed it's never really found its feet. With Qualcomm set to announce the next generation of smartwatch chips that will power future Wear watches in September, it sounds like Google will be doing its bit to give the watchOS and Tizen rival a boost. That boost is tipped to arrive in the shape of Google Coach, a health and fitness-centric smart assistant that analyses your data to suggest recommended workouts and even tell you where you can grab a healthy post-workout meal.

Google Coach is expected to be available on a host of devices, but it looks like Wear and the watches that run on the OS will spearhead this bigger push into health and fitness. Will it be enough to get more people wearing its smartwatches or will it still need to rely on brands like Fossil to get its OS on people's wrists? That very subject is the topic of this week's edition of Charged Up.

Michael Kors' smarter Wear watches

Week in wearable: Apple's health chips, Google Coach and Michael Kors watches

Speaking of Fossil, sub brand Michael Kors has unveiled its latest collection of Wear-running smartwatches and this time they come packing a lot more hardware features.

The Access Runway is the third collection from Michael Kors adding built-in GPS, heart rate tracking and a waterproof design with automatic swim tracking support. Unlike previous collections, this one is aimed squarely at women, but there may be a model or two that could pass as unisex so fear not male Michael Kors fans.

Smartwatches have been a big positive for Fossil since it decided to enter the space and it's been the Michael Kors options above any other brand that are proving to be the most popular. So it's not a big surprise to see that it's ready to push out a new collection.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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