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HealthKit-incompatible Fitbit accessories disappear from Apple's stores

Proving an earlier rumor accurate, Apple on Friday removed Fitbit hardware accessories from its online store, narrowing the fitness-related devices offered by the company ahead of the Apple Watch launch.

It's unknown exactly what happened between Fitbit and Apple to lead to its products being removed from Apple Stores. But the move comes as Fitbit has recently unveiled a new trio of fitness trackers, capable of tracking steps and activity, as well as heart rate sensing for some models.

But with Friday's removal, it appears the new Fitbit Charge, Charge HR and Surge will not be found in Apple Stores. The news that Apple planned to remove Fitbit devices from its stores first surfaced last month.

One possible reason for the decision could be the fact that Fitbit said on its official community forums that it does not have plans to integrate with Apple's HealthKit. The new Health app in iOS 8 is connected to HealthKit, a series of developer tools for collecting fitness and health related data.

Fitbit has said it has been "evaluating integration with HealthKit" since it was announced, but noted that Apple's solution only works on the iOS platform. The company did suggest it could change course if there is enough demand among users.

However, one reason for Fitbit to not integrate with HealthKit is the fact that data exporting is a "premium" feature in the company's ecosystem. The ability to freely export Fitbit data, and integrate it with other services, requires a membership priced at $49.99, while Apple's HealthKit could accomplish that same task for free.

Of course, the forthcoming Apple Watch will also accomplish many of the same functions as the Fitbit product family, including step counting and heart rate tracking. The company's wearable smart watch will start at $349 when it launches in early 2015.

Apple's retail stores continue to carry fitness tracking devices from other companies, including the Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband, Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor, Withings Pulse O2 Activity Tracker, and many more.