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How Fitbit's New Ionic Stacks Up Against The Apple Watch Series 3

How Fitbit's New Ionic Stacks Up Against The Apple Watch Series 3
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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)’s taking swings at nearly everyone else with its latest product launches, so why should Fitbit Inc (NYSE: FIT) escape unscathed?

“We view the Apple Smartwatch as the most relevant direct competitor to Fitbit’s Ionic Smartwatch launching ahead of the holiday season,” Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jim Duffy wrote in a Wednesday note.

Fitbit’s stock had sunk 3.8 percent Tuesday on Apple’s Watch Series 3 reveal.

The Fight Left In Fitbit

Fitbit’s Ionic is no weak contender, though.

Its four-day battery life beats Apple’s 18 hours, supporting sleep tracking less frequently interrupted by charging time. It also boasts compatibility with non-iOS devices, which heightens its utility in the emerging Internet of Things.

Most notably, Ionic is cheaper, selling at $299 against the Series 3’s $329 without LTE capabilities and $399 with.

But those distinctions may not be enough.

“Despite these advantages, Apple has a passionate user base, compelling ecosystem of surrounding products, longer history in the smartwatch category and established app store,” Duffy wrote. “Our view remains that Fitbit is playing catch-up in an intensely competitive category.”

The Apple Edge

Apple Watch’s primary advantage is in its health and fitness functionality, which includes an updated workout app, swimming and snowsport features, heart rate tracking and alerts, an altitude-calculating barometer and the capacity to link to gym equipment.

It also offers LTE connectivity and cellular capabilities, a first in the product category.

Apple Watch Series 3 will hit markets Sept. 22, while the Fitbit Ionic launches in October. Stifel maintains a Hold on Fitbit with a $6 price target.

“While we see near-term estimates achievable behind sell-in of the new Ionic to a clean channel, market acceptance of Ionic is key to relative momentum into 2018, visibility to a return to profitability, and the stock,” Duffy wrote.

Related Link: Analyst: Fitbit Stepping In The Right Direction

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