What it is: The Apple Watch may dominate the wearable computing market but there are plenty of alternatives.
When Apple introduced the Apple Watch, Google introduced Android Wear while Fitbit had already been selling simpler wearable computers. Microsoft even came out with the Microsoft Band (which they promptly shelved). So if you don’t want an Apple Watch for any reason, your two main alternatives boil down to Android Wear devices or Fitbit.
While an Android Wear or Fitbit may be less expensive or simply look nicer to you, the main purpose of all wearable computers is to do real-time health monitoring. Smart watches need to do more than just tell time so the ability to monitor health issues makes wearable computers crucial for anyone with any type of health problems. There have been numerous stories of the Apple Watch saving people’s lives because it alerted them to irregularities in their heart rate, so at the very least, any wearable computer needs to monitor major health symptoms such as heart rate.
However the huge difference between the Apple Watch and its rivals lies with its underlying health foundation. Apple created ResearchKit and HealthKit to allow medical facilities to run tests and store health data. Already major health institutions like John Hopkins have created apps for monitoring and tracking health issues as part of various drug tests. As more medical facilities embrace the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch will soon become a standard for storing and retrieving health data securely. That alone separates the Apple Watch from its rivals.
Fitbit had a head start on the Apple Watch, but can they expand beyond a simple health tracker? Android Wear tried to copy the Apple Watch, but do they have the extensive health background and support that the Apple Watch does? The Apple Watch is already dominating the wearable computer market and will take over the health industry as well. When that happens, people will simply choose the Apple Watch for compatible reasons the same way people today choose Windows PCs in business for compatibility reasons. In the near future, the Apple Watch will be the standard for real-time health monitoring.
So you might save money buying an Apple Watch rival, or you might buy a product that simply looks better in your eyes to the Apple Watch. Just keep in mind that the Apple Watch is more than just a wearable computer but has a growing foundation of storing and monitoring health using Apple’s ResearchKit and HealthKit frameworks. Until rivals can offer something similar that gets adopted by health institutions around the world, the Apple Watch will still be the best supported wearable computer for real-time health monitoring.