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Wearable Tech

Apple yanks rival fitness bands from stores

Such rival health and fitness wearables as the Jawbone Up and the Nike+ FuelBand are no longer being sold at Apple's retail stores.

Is Apple clearing out rival health trackers to make more room for the Apple Watch? Apple

The Apple Watch is shoving aside some of its potential competition.

A check of Apple Stores in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and New York by Recode on Wednesday discovered that the Jawbone Up and the Nike+ FuelBand are no longer on the shelves, while the heart rate-tracking device Mio was only available online.

A check by CNET of Apple's online store on Thursday found the Jawbone Up Move Fitness Tracker and a few other health and fitness devices available for sale but no sign of the Nike+ FuelBand or the Mio at this point.

Assuming the heave-ho of rival activity trackers is a permanent one, the move isn't a big surprise. Last November, Apple removed Fitbit fitness devices from its online store. Fitbit attributed the decision on its plans not to support Apple's HealthKit tool, which allows developers to build health-related apps for iOS devices as well as the Apple Watch . But the move also followed Apple's initial announcement in September of its new smartwatch.

On Monday, Apple revealed more details about its Apple Watch, which is part smartwatch and part health and fitness monitor. As such, Apple is positioning the device to compete with other smartwatches and standard watches, as well as rival activity trackers. Apple Watch will be available for preorder on April 10 and is set for launch on April 24.

On the health and fitness end, Apple is touting the wearable for its ability to help you stay fit. The device will monitor your heart rate, calculate the calories you burn, and measure your speed and distance while walking or jogging. It will also provide feedback on your activities so you can determine your progress as you work out.

But is Apple actually clearing out third-party fitness trackers just to limit the competition for its own watch?

Mio CEO Liz Dickinson told Recode that Apple informed her a few months ago that the Mio would be taken off the shelves of Apple stores. Apple didn't specifically mention the Apple Watch as the reason, according to Dickinson, but her quote does indicate a desire by Apple to shift focus to its own brand.

"They said they brought in a new executive in the marketing area who wanted to rework branding for the stores, and to make the Apple brand more front and center and clean up and minimize the number of accessories," Dickinson said.

A spokesman for Apple declined CNET's request for comment other than to say that "we regularly evaluate and make changes to our merchandise mix."