Apple to bring Watch to millions of US insurance holders

Apple has reportedly been holding secret talks with US health insurer Aetna to bring the firm’s Watch wearable to millions.

According to CNBC, the talks are around the idea of providing the Watch for free or in a discounted form to Aetna customers – a population of over 23 million customers.

Held at the end of last week, the talks included top executives from both Apple and Aetna as well as medical information officers from across the US.

If a deal materialises, it would come at a good time for Apple which has seen a rise in its shipment figures.

According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple’s market share rose from 9% to 13% having shipped 2.8 million units in this year’s Q2.

Those figures will likely increase with rumours circulating about a third iteration of the wearable coming soon.

According to reports, the Watch Series 3 will be primarily health-focused and feature wireless connectivity.

Apple is also developing a potentially groundbreaking non-invasive continuous blood glucose monitor capability for the Watch.

The Watch’s gain comes at Fitbit’s loss as the former market leader not only lost ground to its long-term wearables competitor, but lost its crown as global wearables provider to Xiaomi.

In the same Q2 period, the Chinese firm shipped 3.7 million units, rising 23% since the same time last year.

Its success is thought to the result of its affordable Mi Band which, with simple features like step counting, calendar notifications and heart rate monitoring, is the most popular consumer wearable in China.

Fitbit is hoping to claw back some of its former glory this Winter though when its long-awaited smartwatch will hit US shelves.

Leaked imagery suggests the new smartwatch will include a pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen levels in the blood as well as using red light technology to more accurately measure heart rate.

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