Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6: What We Know So Far

Like most of the products in Apple’s massive line of personal smart devices, the smartwatch has gotten its fair share of annual upgrades since its initial launch back in 2015. This year, tech experts everywhere are expecting no different, and their setting their expectations high for some new features that they’ve been begging for since the initial release of the smartwatch five years ago. 

According to some early 2019 rumor reports from Bloomberg, an online publication, the sixth generation of Apple smartwatches will implement sleep-tracking technology. Mark Girman is the journalist who covered the initial whispers coming from his tech sources regarding the sleep-tracking feature for the Apple Watch Series 6; which is also the predicted name for the next generation. His report states that Apple was already testing this feature when the Series 5 was released last year, but they wanted to make sure it was able to compete with the likes of FitBit and Samsung’s wearable smart technology; both of which have had sleep-tracking capabilities for quite some time. 

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According to one of Strategy Analytics annual reports, Apple alone accounted for almost 50% of the smartwatch market by the end of 2019, Samsung accounting for 14%, and Fitbit 11%. While Apple already is at the number one spot, they continue to desire dominance in the market; hence the annual upgrades. 

Typically, Apple debuts their newest Apple Watch versions with their annual September Keynote Conference; which is more so known for when the new iPhone’s are announced as well. It’s expected that this year will be no different, meaning fans waiting for all the new features to come will have to wait at least a few months.

Apple introduced water-resistant technology to their watches with the second generation, so it’s a guarantee that the same will stand for the sixth version. However, it’s likely that Apple will increase the strength of said technology, as they’ve done that with the past two iPhone upgrades as well. An increase in water-resistance likely means that the watch itself will just be able to stay fully engulfed underwater for more extended periods of time and at a potentially greater depth. 

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Going along with the theme of new features that are basically guaranteed for the Series 6 versions of the Apple Watch, it’s likely an updated processor will be implemented into the internal side of things.

It would not be surprising if so-called Apple Watch Series 6 models feature a faster Apple-designed S chip, as the only known differences with the S5 chip in Series 5 models compared to the S4 chip in Series 4 models is a built-in compass and a new always-on display driver, so a performance bump will be due next year,” according to Ming-Chi Kuo, a data analyst who often accurately predicts Apple product upgrades on the popular forum, MacRumors

Apple software upgrades often take the spotlight at any Apple event within a given year. Updates to the internal aspects of how all of our devices run occur annually, and are normally already implemented within the newest devices once they finally ship out. 

Like how we can always expect the announcement of a new iPhone at Apple’s September Keynote Conference, tech experts know that Apple normally announces many of their operating system updates at their Worldwide Developers Conference in June. In fact, every year since the Apple Watch was first released, Apple has announced key software updates at this specific conference, so this year will likely be no different. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 is a much anticipated upgrade to an already successful wearable technology. Now it’s just a matter of time before the public is allowed insight into what features we can truly expect in the coming update.


Google in Talks to Buy Fitbit

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is currently in talks to purchase the fitness-oriented smartwatch manufacturer Fitbit, according to Reuters. In response to the news, Fitbit’s stock rose by 18% before the stock was halted. If the purchase goes through, the implications for both companies as well as for the smartwatch industry generally could be significant.

While Fitbit enjoyed tremendous popularity with the release of its original fitness trackers, which introduced the concept of tracking one’s health with a smartphone-connected wearable device to many consumers, the company has since been overshadowed by the release of competing products, not the least of which is the Apple Watch. Apple’s take on the smartwatch concept includes essentially all of the fitness-related features Fitbit’s products offer, including heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking, while adding unique features and integrating deeply with the company’s iOS platform. Google, on the other hand, has found little success with its Android Wear operating system, and the Android-compatible smartwatch market in general suffers from an overabundance of mutually-incompatible software choices, including Samsung’s Tizen and Fitbit’s proprietary operating system.

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The acquisition of Fitbit, then, could potentially lead to an abandonment of the Wear OS platform, which has failed to meaningfully take off with both manufacturers and third-party software developers, and the integration of Fitbit’s software more deeply into the Android operating system, among other outcomes. Though Google has recently made strides in its hardware offerings, the company has never manufactured a smartwatch. Currently, Fitbit products are compatible with both iOS and Android devices, providing near-identical functionality on both; it remains to be seen whether a Google-owned Fitbit would continue to produce devices that work with Apple’s line of smartphones. In the past, Google has shown more of a willingness to work with its competitor’s platform than Apple has; Google has made many of its applications available on Apple’s App Store, while the inverse is not true. As such, there’s a good case to be made that a Google-owned Fitbit would continue to make fitness trackers that work with iPhones, though they may begin to include Android-only features stemming from a close relationship between the manufacturer and their potential parent company.

In a bid to maintain its relevancy amidst increasing competition from larger manufacturers, Fitbit acquired Pebble, one of the very first smartwatch manufacturers which began life on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, in 2016. This coincided with the discontinuation of all Pebble smartwatches as the original team was absorbed into the larger company, much to the disappointment of fans of the first significant smartwatch. Today’s news suggests that Google is poised to make a similar move. While the Fitbit brand still has sway over consumers, the company’s notoriety is fading, and Google is focused on unifying its hardware offerings under the Pixel brand umbrella following the announcement of its Pixel 4 smartphone, the new Pixelbook, and the upcoming Pixel Buds. Google has also recently discussed its focus on “ambient computing,” or a way of interacting with computers that blends seamlessly into the user’s ordinary life. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Google shutter the development of Fitbit-branded devices, instead announcing a “Pixel Watch” or something similar, which would combine the health-tracking capabilities now standard on smartwatches with new Android-specific features.

As of now, of course, it’s unclear what these features could entail, but Google’s unmatched investment in developing artificial intelligence combined with their focus on ambient computing could offer clues. For several years, Google has developed and refined its Google Assistant, which is featured on Android phones as well as the Google Home line of smart speakers; it stands to reason that the virtual assistant would make the leap to any potential Google smartwatch. Additionally, Google has debuted radar-based gesture recognition technology on the Pixel 4, which allows users to control their phone by moving their hands over the screen; a similar system, if executed effectively, would seem right at home on a Google smartwatch. As Google has a history of making surprising and innovative technological developments, particularly in the areas of neural networks and machine learning, the company has a lot of potential to make waves with its take on the smartwatch.


How to Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t yearn for a healthier lifestyle. The benefits of living in a healthy way are numerous – if we exercise, eat right, and partake in other healthy activities, we find ourselves feeling and looking better, living longer, happier lives. Why, then, do so few of us prioritize maintaining healthy habits? It’s easy to come up with reasons, the most common of which include thinking we don’t have enough time, that it’s too expensive, and that the amount of work required is too great. But in the back of our heads, we recognize these excuses are just that — and in reality, the major obstacle preventing us from being our best selves is ourselves. How, then, do we start healthy habits that stick? This article serves as a guide not only on suggestions for healthy activities to incorporate into your lifestyle, but how to motivate yourself to continue these habits long enough for them to have an impact on your life.

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Of course, one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle is a good diet. When most of us think of dieting, we imagine a temporary break from our standard patterns of eating, adopted in order to reach a certain weight goal, to be thereafter forgotten about. However, conceptualizing diets in this way is a poor way of understanding your relationship with food, and while it may bring you some degree of success in the short term, you’ll find yourself quickly re-gaining all of the weight you lost as soon as you’ve “finished” your diet.

Rather, it’s best to think of a diet not as something you choose to go on, but as a necessary and lasting component of your lifestyle. The reality is, whether we realize it or not, all of us are “on a diet” — human beings, as we are creatures of habit, tend to eat similar things on a daily or weekly basis, and in similar amounts. The integral nature of diet in our lifestyle also explains why it can be so hard for us to change our diets — the longer we engage in a particular habit, the more ingrained it becomes in our routines.

Breaking our unhealthy dieting habits, then, requires a strong sense of lasting commitment and purpose. Different diets work for different people, and the best diet is the one that you’ll stick to — however, there are some tricks you can take advantage of to ease yourself into your transition towards eating healthier foods. One way to start is by logging all of your foods alongside their constituent macronutrient and calorie values. This process has never been easier, as smartphone apps including FitBit and MyFitnessPal allow you to search for the foods that you eat, which automatically lists the nutritional information for each food, and even let you scan the barcodes of the foods you eat to retrieve this information. You may be surprised by the nutritional value, or lack thereof, of the things you consume without even thinking about it.

Another tip, if your goal is to reduce calories, is to approach the process gradually, by first determining how many calories you tend to eat on a daily basis and then restricting this number slowly as time goes on. The aforementioned apps, as well as online resources, can give you an idea of how many calories you should consume each day based on your height, weight, gender, level of activity, and fitness goals. It’s worth doing some research about nutrition to learn about the different types of nutrients and how they affect the body; although the science of nutrition is full of hotly debated ideas and conflicting advice, there are a few universally-agreed upon principles that should be adhered to. A few good rules of thumb, albeit very simple, are that natural ingredients are better than processed ones, colorful foods tend to be more nutrient-rich, and foods that you cook yourself are healthier than ones you buy pre-made.

Being knowledgeable about nutrition is only half the battle, however, as the other half involves putting your knowledge into action. One good way to help yourself stick to your goals is to prepare your meals ahead of time. If you do all of your cooking for the week at once, putting your cooked meals into reusable containers to take with you instead of determining what you’re going to eat in the moment, you will be more likely to adhere to your diet. A good way to keep yourself accountable is to record your eating habits, either in a journal or with the help of an app. Doing so will not only give yourself the opportunity to look back to see the progress you’ve made over time, but it will also motivate you to maintain your healthy eating habits as you develop a sense of pride for how long you’ve stuck to your modified diet. A potential challenge arises when going out with friends to eat; in these situations, be sure to suggest healthy dining options, and be mindful of the temptation to eat the same sort of food as everybody seated around you.

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Another essential component of a healthy lifestyle is physical activity. If it’s possible for you to do so, incorporating exercise into your routine is an excellent way to maintain health, as a mountain of scientific evidence suggests that getting your heart up several times a week, for extended periods of time, helps to prevent the onset of various diseases and improves your overall subjective sense of well-being. As with your diet, set goals for yourself to exercise for a certain amount of time every week, and hold yourself accountable by recording your progress. This is an area where fitness trackers, such as the various FitBit watches that are commercially available, are their most useful. While a fitness tracker won’t help you if you’re not intrinsically motivated to exercise to begin with, the ability to view detailed stats about your workouts may help push you to do even better in subsequent sessions. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy, whether that’s volleyball, basketball, swimming, or running, and focus on improving your abilities over time. The sense of pride that you’ll find in yourself from noticing your improvement will make up for the pain and effort of eschewing a sedentary lifestyle.

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You should also take into account your psychological and mental health. This holds true even for people who do not have any diagnosed mental illnesses. The purpose of health is to maximize your capacity to get what you want out of life, and many of the barriers to success are mental rather than physical. You should set psychological goals for yourself in addition to your nutrition and exercise related goals – this includes making sure that you fulfill your social obligations, and seeking out new recreational experiences with friends, family, and loved ones. Volunteering, for instance, can give you a sense of purpose and connection with your local community, as well as making you feel good about your contributions to the world. Additionally, mindfulness meditation, alongside yoga and other spiritual practices, has recently been shown scientifically to have mental health benefits, by improving focus and emotional stability. While drugs and alcohol can be fun, recreational drugs are essentially uniformly detrimental to your health, and while occasional drinks are not a major health risk, no amount of alcohol is considered to be healthy. Finally, you should be honest with yourself and non-judgmental of your emotional well-being; if you feel that you need help relating to your mental health, there’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to asking a professional for help, just as there would be no shame in going to a doctor for a broken leg.

The best way to maximize your enjoyment of life, especially as you age, is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and the best approach to doing so is taking a holistic view of health. The three areas of healthy living I’ve outlined in this article all interact with each other in complex ways, and by no means represent a complete view of what it means to be healthy. It’s good to have questions about how you can incorporate healthy behaviors into your life, and you should be proactive in finding answers to these questions, whether that be through the conversations you have or the research you conduct. Think of your healthy lifestyle not as an obligation, or even superficially as a way to improve your appearance, but as an investment in yourself, and an opportunity to get the most out of your experiences on planet Earth.