Update: Fitbit statement below the fold…
If you’re in the market for a Fitbit device and you’re shopping at the Apple Store, you’ll probably have to shop elsewhere to purchase the fitness tracker. Following report from Re/Code last month that Apple planned to drop the Fitbit line of wearable devices from its Apple Store lineup, Apple has today removed the Fitbit Flex and other Fitbit products from its online store following low inventory over the past week. While its unclear why Apple is no longer selling Fitbit products through its retail channels, on the surface the move is similar to Apple’s decision to discontinue selling Bose headphones and speakers at its retail and online stores.
While the Bose move is highly suspected to be related to Apple’s purchase of Beats Electronics earlier this year, Apple could have dropped Fitbit for any number of reasons including lack of support for iOS 8’s HealthKit feature and direct competition from Apple’s upcoming Watch which includes fitness and health tracking features.
Fitbit has publicly shared that it has no plans to integrate with Apple’s HealthKit tool which allows apps to share information with Apple’s new Health app on iOS 8. “At the moment, we’re working on other exciting projects that we think will be valuable to users,” the company said following HealthKit’s launch.
The company has since announced something which will compete closer with the Apple Watch, a $250 fitness tracking smartwatch called the Fitbit Surge. The Fitbit Surge includes GPS tracking independent of a smartphone while the Apple Watch will rely on the iPhone for GPS capabilities.
Apple previously sold the Fitbit Flex, a $99 wearable band featuring an activity tracker with sleep tracking features.
Apple does still offer other fitness trackers including the Jawbone UP and Jawbone UP24 band, both of which support Apple’s Health app and are featured in a HealthKit section of its online store, as well as the Nike FuelBand although online availability is currently limited to one size of the band. Withings also offers several HealthKit-compatible products with apps and devices featured by Apple.
The Jawbone UP24, a $129 fitness band with activity and sleep tracking, is most similar to the dropped Fitbit Flex aside from the $30 difference and support for Apple’s HealthKit and iOS 8 Health app.
Apple highlighted a number of fitness and health tracking features available in its upcoming Apple Watch product due out next year. Earlier this month, 9to5Mac exclusively reported that Apple Retail SVP Angela Ahrendts shared in a video message to Apple employees that the watch launch will occur during the spring season of next year, a time frame some may interpret as later than the official “early 2015” timeframe shared by the company thus far.
Apple has so far only shared the starting price for the Apple Watch–$350–although one rumor has claimed the Apple Watch could include price points at $500 and $5,000 as well.
We’ve reached out to Fitbit for comment on the change and will update if we hear back. In the meantime, you can find Fitbit’s current lineup of fitness tracking wearables online from Amazon starting at $49. Some physical Apple Retail Store locations also still have existing inventory for now.
Update: Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Part shared the following statement in response to the news: “As the #1 selling connected device with 69% year-to-date 2014 market share (source: NPD), Fitbit is currently sold in 46 countries and in over 37,000 retail stores, including Amazon, AT&T, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Brookstone, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohls, Microsoft Store, Nordstrom, REI, Target, The Sports Authority, Tory Burch, Verizon and Walmart. Fitbit looks forward to a robust holiday season as the connected health and fitness category continues its rapid growth.”