Jawbone Pulls Out of Consumer Wearables Market to Focus on Clinical Health Products

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Jawbone is officially exiting the consumer wearables market to focus on developing medical products for direct sale to clinical practitioners, according to a new report.

    Speaking to TechCrunch on Friday, sources familiar with the matter said Jawbone's latest pivot away from its fitness tracker and Bluetooth speaker business involved working on a health product for the medical sector, including offering services for clinicians who work with patients.

    According to the report, Jawbone is seeking to raise foreign investor money as part of the revised strategy, after spending around $951 million in an attempt to prevent a collapse of its consumer wearables business.


    One source told TechCrunch the consumer market had proved "too challenging" for small and mid-size technology companies, but that the burgeoning health wearables sector - currently led by companies like Omada and Forward - offered Jawbone a possible escape route out of its financial troubles.
    Reports of Jawbone's troubles go back to May 2015, when the company ended production of its UP line of fitness trackers and sold its remaining inventory to a third-party reseller at a discounted price.

    Initially, Jawbone denied claims that it was going out of business and said it was focusing on advanced sensors to sell to other wearable makers, but over recent months a slew of angry customers frustrated by a lack of support have painted a more desperate picture.

    Just last month both the head executive of product and the chief financial officer left the company, while MacRumors was contacted by former staff who said that Jawbone had let go of all employees at its four contact centers in Northern Ireland and across the U.S., leaving no-one to deal with customer complaints.

    Jawbone still believes there is value in its business, but with a one-star customer rating on review aggregator website Trustpilot.com and an "F" rating on Better Business Bureau's site, the company faces a challenge if it is to win the confidence of additional investors, wherever its future lies.

    Article Link: Jawbone Pulls Out of Consumer Wearables Market to Focus on Clinical Health Products
  2. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    One more bites the dust.

    How long before the wearables market effectively becomes the Apple Watch market?
  3. rti92391 macrumors member


    Jun 9, 2011

    Pulls out of the consumer market? Based on their last year and a half, they've ceased to exist. Their private share price as of 9/30/2016 were less than 2 cents per share, key executives (Bogard, Samat, Price) have left and their social media accounts are filled with complaints. They appear to NOT be "committed" as Hosain said.
  4. Robert.Walter macrumors 65816

    Jul 10, 2012
    Small and midsize businesses not able to compete in wearables?

    Moving into medical?

    My thoughts are that they will get crushed there too.
  5. tridley68 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 28, 2014
    I agree.
  6. alexanderkilts macrumors newbie


    Dec 31, 2016
    North Carolina, USA
    Jawbone bought--and quickly discontinued--Bodymedia, which made devices used in a lot of health studies, weight, and metabolic studies. I'd hoped the purchase would make Jawbone wearables more accurate... but that didn't turn out to be the case. Either the Jawbone algorithms or the placement on the wrist (vs the upper arm as the Bodymedia had) made the purchase more about bragging rights than practical. The new sensors were like sticking a shiny new USB-C connector on the side of your laptop, but limiting it to USB 2.0 speeds and functions.

    I'm glad they're not just going to sit on the Bodymedia patents/IP, but I'd hoped they'd sell or license them to make the entire wearables space more accurate.
  7. Finchly macrumors member


    Feb 2, 2017
    This seems more like a last ditch attempt to stave off the inevitable rather than anything else.
  8. jamescobalt macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2012
    Boston, MA
    This "incredible margins" culture of healthcare comes with its own sustainability (and ethical) questions...
  9. steve23094 macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2013
    Companies like Samsung, where other segments of their business can subsidise wearables, will be able to compete. And as part of creating an ecosystem it might make sense to eat any loss to remain in the market.
  10. chr1s60 macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Saw this coming since the failure that was the original Jawbone Up many years ago.
  11. djcerla macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2015
    Little problem in the masterplan: Apple is about to enter that very market, too.
  12. chr1s60 macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    This is nothing more than the smaller companies being pushed out. There are companies that can and will continue to be competitors in this field while it exists.
  13. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    The issue isn't the presence of competition but rather, that of meaningful competition.

    Not at all unlike the current state of the tablet market today. Tons of options available, yet for all intents and purposes, the iPad is the only model which matters.
  14. Nevaborn macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2013
    Effectively the end of Jawbone. They have been unable to compete with a apple and Samsung. Even microsoft has had to bow out.

    As far as the medical sector goes, Apple from the start has ingrained themselves in it working with world leading medical institutions with a Health Kit and expanding its functionality continually to its wearable device.

    Small, medium and even large companies can't compete with the infrastructure Apple has laid down. Jawbone won't get far unless they are allowed to.
  15. chr1s60 macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    To an Apple fan, sure. I know and can find plenty of people who have never owned an iPad nor considered one despite owning multiple tablets. Apple may lead in individual market share for tablets but the iPad is far from being the only one that matters.
  16. drewsof07 macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    The health market moves so slowly, this is the beginning of the end.
  17. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2014
    known but velocity indeterminate
    If you consider Surface to be a tablet then there are two. Other than institutional buyers Android tablets are purchased 95% on price alone.
  18. Pilgrim1099 Suspended

    Apr 30, 2008
    From the Midwest to the Northeast

    You need to stop with the Apple Worship. They are NOT gods. They're men and women that can bleed and disappear, break a bone, get burnt out and quit, or suffer any other kind of vulnerability. Apple is NOT a person nor a religious entity. It's a company with a building. It's NOT the brand name or physical location, or that 'spit shiny' gloss white-out logo that makes the products good. It's the people inside that does.

    Jawbone did'nt go out of business. They're shifting gears. READ the article. They're being smart about going the health/medical route which is the specialized focus. The day Timmy leaves Apple is when the Apple foolishness STOPS ( hopefully ). The Watch took up a lot of their R&D and time for about 4-5 years. This probably explains why one small product siphoned so much of the engineers' time away from other things like....iMac or Mac Pro for the last 5 years without any progressive change ( despite the little evolutionary spec bumps ).

    And one more thing: Fitbit is still here and kicking a$$. So are the other competitors such as Withings. The only way for Apple to stay competitive in the wearables is to BRING. THE. PRICE. DOWN. and cut back on overkill features, and beef up the battery life to more than 3 days. 12 hours is unacceptable. And NO, the crown should never be used for opening an app.

    What the hell happened to simplicity design? The watch OS is overkill with too many apps. It's trying to be everything for everyone which is not a good idea. All they do is cram, cram, cram everything into each product until it's become saturated where they can't stand out from the competition.

    There are very good wearables out there besides the Apple Watch. And I got bad news for you. NONE of the active people I know in fencing class wear an Apple Watch. NONE. They wear Fitbit Charges. In fact, my coach's brother works for Fitbit which is how she got one for free. I've seen it in person and it's well built.
  19. Carlanga macrumors 604


    Nov 5, 2009
    The only thing I liked about my original jawbone was the wake up sleep feature. Hated having like three exchanges for it and none worked after a whirl and in the end money back for it. I can't be bad at them for that since I ended up owning it for free and their case was great and easy so they were a class act at the time. I didn't buy anything jawbone after that though.
  20. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    I wouldn't bet that this is the case in the long term.....

    According to this MR article from a few days ago:

    Apple Watch Dominated Holiday Season With Estimated 5.2 Million Shipments

    While Apple shipped more smart watch units than all the competition combined, their shipments fell 15% from 2015 to 2016. This is while the majority of their competition increased their shipments during the same period by 58%. Another interesting thing that was left out of this article was that their 2015 numbers were only based off of 8 months, since the AW came out late April. So they are comparing 8 months in 2015 to 12 of shipments in 2016.

    It is also worth noting that Samsung also had a decrease in shipments and marketshare, just like Apple.

    Basically the trend is going in the other way for Apple, but so far they are on top.
  21. B-Mc-C, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

    B-Mc-C macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2017
    Irvine, California
    Battery life since watchOS 3 is almost two full days for me. Impossible to run out of juice if I put the watch on my nightstand charger before bed or even for an hour while I am getting ready for work. Your 12 hour battery life claim is baloney.

    They've brought the price down, check out Series 1 or deals on the original models.

    Have you looked at Fitbit stock recently? Or read about their layoffs? They're no longer even an acquisition target. They're done. Sorry to burst your bubble.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 4, 2017 ---
    Apple Watch was a year old for a good part of last year. Many people held off for the 2nd generation, which came out toward the end of the year, and was extremely supply constrained until now. Now that the production ramp is complete and the Series 1 is available at a lower entry point, they should do pretty well this year.
  22. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    It makes you wonder if smartwatches and wearables are ever going to have the mass market penetration these companies have hoped for?
  23. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    I will stop when the unjustified doomsaying and negativity surrounding Apple stops.

    Why would they shift gears, if not because the consumer market is not panning out for them? And the chief reason is that the Apple Watch is sucking all the profits out of the wearables market.

    In short, do what Pebble did? For all the good that did them.

    The Apple Watch lasts 2 days between charges.

    Fitbit reported a dramatic drop in profits and recently laid off a bunch of their workforce. Their spare cash on hand is roughly equivalent to one year of operating costs. In short, this next year will be make or break for them.

    Fitbit is in a more precarious position than people seem to realise here. I am betting they will be one of the next few companies to exit the wearables market.

    This is my current Apple Watch app layout.


    Here's what I am currently doing on my Apple Watch.

    1) Apple Pay.

    2) Interacting with notifications. I love being able to triage incoming email and dictate short replies to messages from my wrist, especially when my phone is not on me.

    3) Siri on the wrist can be handy. I am using it to calculate discounted prices of products in shopping malls (e.g. "What is 70% of $139”)

    4) Use the workout app to track my runs. Loving the heart rate sensor as well (not sure how accurate it is though).

    5) Have apps like 1Password and Authy saved to my dock. I can now retrieve passwords and 2FA codes directly from my wrist.

    6) It's just an nice watch all round (albeit one I have to charge every 1-2 days).

    I don't feel like my Apple Watch is unnecessarily bloated or needlessly complicated. I came from a pebble watch and I am loving the added functionality.

    So Fitbit is supposedly doing well because they gave someone a free sample of their product (meaning, no revenue)?

    Fitbit is experiencing declining sales, and what stock they did sell, they had to reduce prices to achieve those sales.

    What I am seeing from my colleagues who wear fitbits are that they don't result last very long. 6-9 months on average, and most don't last a year. Compared to an Apple Watch which is projected to last 3 years on average and suddenly, the higher initial selling price of the Watch doesn't seem like such a bad deal after all.

    Fitbit is in free fall, at a time when Apple Watch momentum is building. It's telling that Fitbit saw the need to purchase Pebble and enter the smartwatch market, precisely because Apple's renewed emphasis on health has impacted it gravely.

    The price of the Apple Watch doesn't need to drop. Apple will do what it has always done. Taken an emerging product category with a frustrating user experience and delivered a polished product made possible by its control over both the hardware and software.

    And in the process proceed to suck out all the profit from the industry, leaving only scraps behind for the rest of the competition to fight over.
  24. Defactomonkey macrumors member

    May 11, 2012
    Boston, MA
    I'm in the medical technology market and it's just as crowded as the consumer market. Go to any nurse's station and it's packed with technology competing to be their service of choice or UI of choice. To survive in this space you must integrate with the big players.
  25. Zirel Suspended


    Jul 24, 2015
    Once people get a smartwatch, they won't go back to those stupid things.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 4, 2017 ---
    Lol, Fitbit is totally dead, their stock went from $16 to $6 over the past year.

    Someone that says the Apple Watch lasts 12 hours is why "MacRumors Forums" are "MacRumors Forums".

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