Welcome to the week in wearable tech – our weekly round-up of the key news from the industry.
This week we’ve got word of new launches from Xiaomi, and serious improvements to two big-name wearables.
Then we’ve got the latest on the never-ending saga of the supposed Apple VR/AR headset, which is delayed yet again.
Read on for everything you need to know from the week in wearables.
Big Whoop improvements
Whoop has announced a raft of improvements to its Whoop 4.0 tracker, along with a surprise (and very welcome) price cut.
The company has announced a cut in subscription costs for 12 and 24-month contracts by 20%, and will now offer a lifetime warranty on its devices.
In terms of new features, it’s added a new Stress Monitor feature, and it will now count reps in weightlifting workouts. There's also a new muscular strain score, which will interest those who spend more time doing functional fitness and strength sessions.
Read our full story here.
Whoop’s ecosystem is pricey, so a big cut makes it easier to recommend to non-prosumer athletes. We feel Whoop has a lot to gain by becoming more mainstream and getting its excellent insights to more people.
Samsung adds fertility smarts
Samsung surprised us this week by revealing a big new female-focused feature for its flagship Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatch.
But this week Samsung announced that it will be used for menstrual cycle tracking and ovulation prediction, in a collaboration with Natural Cycles.
Natural Cycles is one of the few FDA-approved digital contraception services and previously partnered with Oura Ring.
It’s great to see Samsung closely following Apple with proper women’s health features, which have been sorely lacking in wearables.
Xiaomi preps triple wearable launch
This week we’ve heard word of three new Xiaomi smartwatches – and all could be out pretty soon.
First comes the sleek-looking Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro, which offers a high-resolution AMOLED display. It’s already out in China, and appears as if it will be launched globally ahead of MWC at the end of February.
Next is the Xiaomi Watch S2, again already out in China, which packs body composition analysis and GPS and health features. That looks like it will come later in the spring.
Finally, and most interestingly is the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 (Mi Band 8). This has been Xiaomi’s big wearable success story, and all eyes will be on new features added to the party – especially in the face of Fitbit’s excellent Inspire 3 launch last year.
Xiaomi’s smartwatch launches are failing to capture the same attention as its fitness tracker. Its watches are priced in the mid-range and don’t offer much that Amazfit and Huawei haven’t already delivered. Could that be about to change?
More Apple headset delays
The never-ending rumor mill of Apple’s supposed AR/VR headset entry sentenced us to another few months of speculation this week, as Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported more delays.
The (supposed) technology in-the-know accounts had predicted a dedicated launch for the headset this spring, but are now saying this date has been pushed back to WWDC in June.
The consensus is that Apple will launch a mixed-reality headset, and introduce a new xrOS or realityOS – for developers to create applications for the headset.
Read our full guide to Apple's Reality Pro headset.
The idea of Apple launching a VR headset still seems bizarre, but a WWDC launch makes the most sense for the unveiling. Any announcement seems likely to be more about the platform than the hardware, so its developer conference seems the right place to reveal what exactly this headset will be used for.
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