Smartwatches and fitness bands promise to help you get healthier, but about a third of wrist-worn activity trackers are abandoned after six months. One health app developer decided to see if the Apple Watch was a different story, or if Apple's watch would be relegated to a junk drawer with other unwanted tech two months in.
The team at Hello Heart, an app that helps iPhone and Apple Watch owners monitor their blood pressure, found that watch owners were more engaged with their health than iPhone-only users. More than 70 percent of Hello Heart's survey sample of 2,000 Apple Watch users still track their blood pressure on the watch nine weeks after buying the device.
Hello Heart compared those watch users to 2,000 iPhone-only owners to see if the watch made people more likely to want to input their blood pressure. After eight weeks, blood pressure readings input using the watch app were 3.6 times higher than on the iPhone. Apple Watch owners were also three times more likely to add daily blood pressure check reminders than their iPhone-only counterparts. That could be due to ease of use: On the watch, you can just verbally dictate your blood pressure reading.
"It's always on my wrist and I don't have to pull anything out of my pocket anymore when I want to check how I'm doing," one Hello Heart user said in his feedback.
Correlation vs. causation
I asked Hello Heart CEO Maayan Cohen whether Apple Watch buyers wore the device because they were more health-conscious to begin with, or whether the watch actually prompted users to be more diligent about health-tracking.
"I think that people who use the Apple Watch are not necessarily healthier or even more health-conscious than iPhone users," she said via email. "I think that they buy the Apple Watch because it's a cool device, but they become more health-conscious because of it."
Nine weeks is too soon to tell whether Apple Watch owners will tire of their devices and give up on health-tracking, but early data is promising. We've also heard anecdotes that support that data. Macworld contributor Marco Tabini found the watch's fitness-tracking features inspire him to be more active. The Loop's Jim Dalrymple lost 40 pounds with the help of the watch.
If you bought an Apple Watch, are you finding yourself paying more attention to your health? Let us know in the comments.