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Apple (AAPL) Watch Can Detect Irregular Heartbeat Per Study

Zacks Equity Research

Apple AAPL is firing on all cylinders to strengthen its position in the wearable world on the back of robust technologies and innovative products.

Recently, the company announced a new update for its Apple Watch Series 4, with primary focus on user fitness. The update enables users to access ECG app on their watch. This move will likely aid users in detecting atrial fibrillation (a-fib) or irregular heartbeat.

A recent study conducted by Stanford Medical School, which was funded by the iPhone maker, suggested that Apple watch was able to detect irregular heart pulses in a significant number of users.

Notably, more than 400,000 people participated in this study. Among the ones who participated, only 0.5% received a notification for irregular heartbeat. On receiving the alert, participants had to consult a study doctor and wear an EKG patch for a week to validate the accuracy of the alert.

Irregular heart pattern more than once a week is indicative of a-fib. It’s noteworthy that one third of the participants who carried the EKG patch were found to have the problem.

 

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Apple Shifts Focus to Wearables

Fitness wearables are gaining significant traction of late due to the comfort and ease that these products provide in tracking fitness.

According to an IDC report, global shipments of wearable devices are expected to reach 190 million units by 2022, growing at a 5-year CAGR of 11%. This presents significant growth opportunity for Apple.

Per IDC, the company enjoys a dominant position in the market with the help of its Watch Series, HealthKit and the Health app, which help users in monitoring their health.

Per reports from Bloomberg, Apple is testing a sleep monitor for a future version of its smartwatch. If the functionality is successful in the testing stages, the company plans to add it to the Apple Watch by 2020.

Declining sales of its flagship iPhone is compelling the company to shift its focus to other segments. Notably, total revenues from wearables, which include Apple Watch, Beats and AirPods, increased more than 50% year over year in the last reported quarter.

Competition Intensifies

Given immense growth opportunities, tech companies like Fitbit FIT, Samsung SSNLF, Garmin GRMN and Google are making strong efforts to strengthen their market position in the wearables space.

While total wearables market share increased 27.5% year over year, Apple Watch alone grew 39.5% and the company shipped 46.2 million units in 2018, per IDC’s latest data. 

Apple’s market share of 26.8%, up 230 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis, was much better than Xiaomi’s 13.5%, Fitbit’s 8% and Samsung’s 6.2%. Notably, Xiaomi and Samsung gained 160 bps and 190 bps, respectively, in market share. However, Fitbit lost 340 bps year over year.

Notably, Apple’s continuous efforts toward enhancing product offerings will help it in gaining further momentum in the market. To date, Apple Watch stands out as the only device to detect a-fib in users. However, the service is only available in the United States as of now and is still in its preliminary stage.

Currently, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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