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Day: September 7, 2017

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High-end iPhone to ship after standard models

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Apple is preparing to announce a new series of iPhone at an event next week. Two models are on tap and TechCrunch has learned from trusted sources the more expensive, fancier version will ship at a later time.

It’s unclear how long will separate the availability of the two different versions. Several reports have surfaced over the last few weeks pointing to supply issues and production glitches that could be the reason for the delay.

Today The Wall Street Journal stated that a glitch in the manufacturing process pushed back the iPhone’s production by a month. Reportedly the issue stems from the decision to use OLED screens while also trying to integrate a fingerprint scanner into the screen itself. This process was apparently abandoned and the new iPhone will ship without a fingerprint scanner.

Apple apparently requires the screens to be made in a different fashion than what Samsung uses for its phones. For the iPhone, Apple separates the display and touch panel instead of integrating them together. This requires more steps to make each unit.

The new screens add another layer of complication outside of the manufacturing process. They’re apparently very expensive. As Romain pointed out earlier today, KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that Apple is paying $45 to $55 for LCD displays in current iPhone models. But Samsung is asking for $120 and $130 per unit. This could be the reason why the next high-end iPhone is going to be so expensive.

Reports have suggested that the more expensive iPhone could top $1,000. This would be the version that would be released after the standard model.

New iPhones are always in short supply when they are first available and that’s likely to remain true with this version. By staggering the release and selling one phone at a much higher price, Apple could relieve some of the pressure on its supply chain to process and fulfill orders.

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Fitbit is surging after it announced a big health partnership

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Fitbit today came out with some additional news that might give Wall Street some signs of life as it looks to compete with an increasingly complicated fitness tracking environment — and the stock is surging this afternoon as a result.

Fitbit’s shares are up more than 11 percent after it announced a partnership with Dexcom, which would introduce glucose monitoring on the Ionic Smartwatch. This somewhat nudges Fitbit beyond just fitness tracking into something that’s more in the vein of health tracking in general. Starting in 2018, the Fitbit Ionic will show users data from a Dexcom G5 mobile sensor. It’s a collaboration that’s aimed at developing and marketing products to better manage diabetes.

Fitbit is well known for its fitness trackers, but increasingly there’s been a proliferation of trackers that focus on all areas of health. The Apple Watch is trying to move further into something that’s broader than simply fitness, and there are startups like Proof looking to pick away little niches like tracking blood alcohol content. The sum of all these little niches may end up as a comprehensive health tracking device, though cramming them all into one piece of hardware may prove more challenging than initially expected.

It’s a nice jump and a reprieve from a pretty ho-hum month for Fitbit, which has seen a slight bump in its performance.

Still, any sign of life that alters the calculus of the kind of business Fitbit can build means there’s likely going to be a big stock price swing like we’re seeing today. Fitbit has barely sustained “unicorn” status, but it’s nowhere near where it was when it went public, and has had to fight to convince Wall Street that it’s a real, healthy company.

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Fitbit is teaming up with Dexcom for glucose monitoring on the Ionic Smartwatch

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Wearable fitness makers are increasingly interested in tracking our vitals. Now Fitbit has announced a collaboration with glucose monitor company Dexcom to develop and market products to help those with diabetes better manage the disease, starting with Fitbit’s Ionic Smartwatch.

Starting in 2018, the Fitbit Ionic will show users data from the Dexcom G5 Mobile sensor, which is worn just under the skin and can show vitals every 5 minutes. This means you will have to insert the $900 sensor first.

The Dexcom sensor is also supported by the Apple Watch, via a reroute through the iPhone but will soon be on the Watch itself through core Bluetooth, which is coming in watchOS4.

Tracking using Fitbit and Apple Watch is still rather difficult if you can’t afford Dexcom’s monitoring device. However, for those with the device already implanted it could prove useful. More than 422 million people around the world have diabetes, a fraction of whom are presumed to be using a wearable for tracking their blood glucose levels.

“The collaboration between Dexcom and Fitbit is an important step in providing useful information to people with diabetes that is both convenient and discreet,” said Dexcom CEO Kevin Saye in a statement. “We believe that providing Dexcom CGM data on Fitbit Ionic, and making that experience available to users of both Android and iOS devices, will have a positive impact on the way people manage their diabetes.”

Featured Image: lya S. Savenok / Stringer/Getty Images

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