With the iPhone 5s, Apple introduced the M7 co-processor which came with basic tracking abilities that one might find on fitness-related wearables. Essentially what this means is that you could turn your phone into a health tracker instead of buying a dedicated device, but the question is would your iPhone be as good as a dedicated wearable from the likes of Fitbit, Jawbone, Nike, and etc.?
If you’re thinking no way that a phone could outdo a dedicated wearable, think again. A recent study has been done (via Cult of Mac) in which an iPhone 5s with three different apps installed – FitBit, Health Mate, and Moves, were pitted against three different wearables like the Fitbit Flex, Jawbone UP24, and the Nike FuelBand.
The results are pretty surprising as it was found that in terms of step accuracy, the wearables fluctuated wildly ranging from -22.7% to -1.5%, with the Nike FuelBand being the worst of the lot. However when compared to the apps installed on the iPhone 5s, the variations only ranged -6.7% to 6.2% from the observed step counts. According to Mitesh S. Patel, one of the authors of the study, “Since step counts are such an important part of how these devices and apps measure physical activity, including calculating distance or calories burned, their accuracy is key.”
Patel adds, “Compared to the one to two percent of adults in the U.S. that own a wearable device, more than 65 percent of adults carry a smartphone. Our findings suggest that smartphone apps could prove to be a more widely accessible and affordable way of tracking health behaviors.” So what do you guys think? Are you ready to ditch your wearable for a fitness app instead?