Whoop 5.0 | Major Article, Detailed Analysis | Fact or Fantasy for 2024?

whoop 4 band review with strain ai gpt coachWhoop Band 5.0 for 2024 – Fact or Fantasy – What new features will the new strap have?

Historically speaking, Whoop has released a new strap every 2 years or so and if history is a predictor of the future, we should see a Whoop Band 5 in 2024, as this timeline indicates

  1. Whoop Strap 1.0: Released in 2015.
  2. Whoop Strap 2.0: Released in 2017, adds subscription model
  3. Whoop Strap 3.0: Released in 2019.
  4. Whoop Strap 4.0: Released in September 2021.
  5. Whoop Strap 5.0: September 2024 ??

On the features side of Whoop’s improvements, Strap 4.0 has benefitted from an impressive and continual stream of additions over the last two years.

The rest of this article is in 3 parts: key general arguments for Whoop 5 in 2024; historical changes from v3 to v4 for context; and 20ish new features, indicating the likelihood of each. Skip ahead to that last section if you need to. There’s no clickbait here, I want you to come back!

More: Whoop Strap 4.0 Review

Key Arguments

Whoop is a significant Wearables company with multiple, extensive investments behind its growth. It certainly has the means to develop a new product.

Whilst technology is continually evolving, it’s usually the case that ‘about 2 years‘ is the time it takes for a component to iterate the next slightly better version. Fundamental changes happen with replacement technologies over longer time frames of, say, 3-5 years.

It takes significantly more than a year for a company to plan to integrate and then execute significantly new bits of tech into existing form factors. Even with the financial might of Apple, its Watch struggles to be materially different every year. Garmin manages partial product refresh cycles within 18-24 months. However, due to the nature of the product, Whoop has a simpler job than those two companies albeit with fewer resources. Whoop only really has to update the battery, accelerometer module and NIRS (HR) sensor as it doesn’t have to deal with the design complications around GNSS chips, antennae, AMOLED screens and buttons.

Whilst Apple can add a new battery one year, a new GPS chip the next year and a new HR sensor the following year, Whoop does NOT have the luxury of organisation to support that mammoth task of annual hardware updates. It makes sense for the company to undergo longer duration refresh cycles.

Customers typically pay a subscription fee rather than a one-off cost for the device. If you compared the subscription to the depreciation of a high-end Garmin sports watch you would certainly find similarities. However, there still would remain a premium for Whoop and I would argue that premium represents the expectation of a free hardware upgrade. customers’ expectations definitely cannot be left hanging for too long. In the customers’ eyes, a refresh cycle of 4 years or more would perhaps not be an acceptable justification for the premium they pay.

Taken as a whole, Whoop is clearly the sort of sports tech company that makes 2-3-year product iterations that incorporate several hardware improvements each time.

COVID had tainted my memory of when Whoop 4 was released and I wasn’t expecting anything from the company this year. However, I’ve just convinced myself that a Whoop 5 is highly likely this year. Based on typical industry launch windows that would be Q2/March-April or Q3/September. Let’s now check what Whoop was and is working on and how that impacts likely new features

Changes Made from Whoop 3 to Whoop 4

The changes that happened at the last iteration give an idea of both the magnitude and details of Whoop’s abilities to refresh its product.

  • 33% Smaller: WHOOP 4.0 is 33% smaller than WHOOP 3.0 and claims an improved 4 to 5-day battery life
  • Optical Heart Rate Sensor: The sensor has 5 LEDs (three green, one red, and one infrared) and 4 photodiodes.
  • Next-Gen Battery: Sila Nanotech received a huge investment to support the R&D of their new battery that uses silicon-based anodes for the first time in a Li-ion battery. This tech will probably make its way into electric vehicles but WHOOP got to use it for the first time in their product. The key benefit is that there is a 17% space-saving or, put another way, this gives the space for a larger battery to boost a 4-day battery life to a 5-day battery life.
  • Battery Pack 4.0: There’s a newly designed battery pack that can charge on the go as well as respond to a tap to show the charge level
  • Sleep Coach + Haptic Alerts: Gentle vibrations can wake you up at the right stage of your sleep cycle.
  • Pulse Oximeter: Supports blood oxygen calculations (SPO2) to offer new physiology insights
  • Skin Temperature Sensor: Temperature is another new metric that can be used to improve health/illness features, menstruation monitoring and sleep stage calculations.
  • Health Monitor: Track live heart rate, skin temperature, SpO2, resting heart rate (HRrest), heart rate variability (HRV), and respiratory rate in one view. Copy 30-day or 180-day trends of these metrics to your coach, trainer, PT, or physician
  • IP68 & Waterproof to 10m
  • BLE Support – ANT+ not supported. It’s a broadcastable Bluetooth Low Energy/SMART sensor.

WHOOP’s Any-Wear clothing range has pouches into which the WHOOP sensor easily slips and reads data from your torso, waist, or calf. The clothing collection includes sports bras, compression tops, leggings, shorts, and athletic boxers which vary in price from $54 to $109. They are of excellent quality

  • Fast Link Slider: This allows bands to be more easily removed, and swapped, then for the sensor to be placed in the clothing if desired.
  • SuperKnit & HydroKnit Bands: Respectively these are for comfort/durability and a fast-drying version for sport
  • Any-Wear Detection: The clothing and WHOOP interact so that WHOOP records the wear-position.

 

New Features: Expect these changes from Whoop 4.0 to Whoop 5.0

Whoop 4’s features surprised me at the time. They integrated a novel silicon anode battery design which was claimed to be superior to others on the market. Leading-edge battery technology has inched along since then but it showed that Whoop is absolutely capable of being a pioneer with aspects of its tech componentry. This makes it MUCH harder to see Whoop’s future than, say, Garmin whose next generation of products are fairly easy to predict. If you want to read more about that try this article on Sports Watch Tech Trends

2023: new Garmin Endurance Sports Technologies for GPS Watches & Bike Computers Trends

 

  • Size – I don’t expect the size to be radically different from today but I would expect the raw dimensions to be different. It won’t necessarily be smaller as it doesn’t need to be. It’s not a bulky watch it’s a relatively elegant band.
  • ✔️ new Optical HR Sensor – this is a certainty. However, it’s more complex than that as the NIRS sensor unit and array will be capable of sensing more things in a more battery-efficient manner. NIRS sensing technology is rapidly changing and evolving. Whoop’s dilemma is that the longer it waits the more capable will the new sensor become.
    • There is an outside chance that Whoop could be one of the companies to introduce continuous lactate sensing this year.
    • Whilst an awesome and well-understood sports measurement, muscle oxygen will not be included in Whoop 5, to me Whoop’s main difficulty here would be ensuring the integrity of the light pathway on the sensor (ie keeping the sun out). That said, Whoop could do some amazing things if sufficiently motivated that would take itself and the muscle oxygen sensing market to the next level becoming mainstream for the first time.
    • Continuous ECG abilities have distinctive medical and wellness uses and the ECG track can itself give novel insights into heart strain during exercise. But I don’t think Whoop will go there because of the battery hit.
    • Core temperature sensing is possible from skin-based thermometers. This might be possible for Whoop but I don’t think the insights will have a sufficiently wide appeal to its target demographic (the feature is too pro-level sporty). That said, this might appeal to many of the aspirational/wannabe athletes who use Whoop and who want to imagine they are pros
  • ✔️ New battery – yes, whoop 5 will inevitably have a new battery even if only because the old one won’t be manufactured any more. Expect some improvements in battery capacity but expect overall battery life to take a bigger jump due to energy savings in other components. Also, expect the battery pack to be ‘a bit better‘. The biggest expectation would be for faster charging but don’t expect fancy battery longevity management tools – remember the subsequent Whoop would only be 3 years further down the line and the battery will still be in great shape in that timeframe.
  • ✔️ Strap compatibility – expect this to remain unchanged, although Whoop might be tempted by the additional revenues that come from the sale of very profitable new straps made with a subtly different attachment mechanism.
  • ✔️ Higher resolution accelerometer- I expect to see an improved accelerometer, perhaps bundled in with some other internal component to save space and power. I’m unsure of the exact resolution of the existing sensor (hertz). For many companies’ watches, this is not so important. However, for companies like Stryd and Whoop, the accelerometer is a key to unlocking athletic insight. Remember that Whoop acquired PUSH but was able to leverage its existing hardware to adapt to PUSH’s algorithms for strength training. Essentially PUSH measures 3D movements during weight training combined with speed/acceleration. The more accurate the accelerometer, the more accurate will be its algorithms. You only have to look at what Stryd has recently done with FOOTPATH to see that a similar 3D visualisation from Whoop is VERY easily possible and might be a useful insight into gym technique.
  • ✔️ Increased HR accuracy on the wrist. It’s a given. Every wrist-based HR sensor, including Garmin and Apple, still needs improvement for different kinds of environments, use cases and physiologies. Each new generation is technically more accurate.
    • Please don’t get this confused with improved sleep stage accuracy or improved recovery accuracy. Some of the things Whoop 4 owners want to improve are largely unknowable from any current tech. Indeed any so-called improvements to things like sleep stages are unlikely to be truly quantifiable in any scientific sense.
    • Also, note that most people want the illusion of accuracy rather than accuracy per se. Obviously if asked, everyone wants 100% accuracy but if they believe their product is accurate and trust the results of the algorithms then that’s enough. I  *DO* understand the algorithms and many of the scientific issues here, 100% accuracy is frequently simply impossible. (sorry!)
  • ✔️ Keeps the subscription model
  • ❌Additional hardware linked to PUSH. I would expect the meat of the sensing and algorithms to be in the band and the app. Perhaps there is some scope to introduce secondary sensors to measure gym movements without changing the position of your main Whoop band.
  • ❌ GPS. Nah! This would use WAY too much battery and Whoop will continue to enable you to use the smartphone app
  • ❌ ANT+ heart rate and running dynamics broadcast. Nah, Whoop assumes that you do NOT have a Garmin. Although to be fair, it would help those of you who cycle with older bike computers. You can use NPE WYUR alongside Whoop in that and similar scenarios. A similar argument exists against GymKit support…it’s a HR monitor that already broadcasts HR.
  • ❌ Real-time temperature and blood oxygen. Lol, no. It’s not a thermometer or medical tool.
  • ❌ Non-invasive blood glucose tracking. No, too complicated
  • ❌ Non-invasive blood pressure. No! It’s a sports sensor, not a wellness sensor. Plus it’s too complicated to get non-invasive BP in 2024.
  • ❌Chest strap compatibility. No, it will not take readings from 3rd party chest straps. That would fatally undermine the company’s business model. It just isn’t going to happen.
    • However, what could happen is that Whoop comes up with an adapter that converts its product to a chest strap as an alternative wearing position. To make that worthwhile it would have to leverage electrical sensing pads. I think that’s a clever idea, but I don’t think Whoop will perceive a sufficient demand or benefit from any increases in accuracy. Or it could just sell a coded and dedicated chest strap as an add-on.
  • ❌Button. The introduction of a button is plausible but it would detract from the simplicity and elegance of the band design. A button would have to add very significant feature improvements and I can’t envisage any being sufficiently large to warrant this. Perhaps the main use would be to advance to the next rep/set in strength training (why can’t a haptic TAP do the same thing?).  Endurance athletes should remember that Whoop’s customer base is quite different from, say, the owner of a Garmin Forerunner. A button could appeal there but, if I’m honest, Whoop already has the resources and sensor to do this sort of thing algorithmically. Long ago, Biostrap EVO had a learning mechanism for its accelerometers to recognise movement patterns in strength workouts. It’s not rocket science.
  • ❌ Display. No. It’s a band. End of.
  • Improved haptics. Yes, why not? Simple to introduce and simple to deliver minor usability improvements
    • ✔️Gesture Control. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I expect to see this added. It’s more than simply copying the same feature from Apple Watch Ultra 2. The Apple Vision Pro stuff, Metaverse and all that nonsense that is to come in the years ahead ABSOLUTELY WILL rely on standard gesture controls to a significant degree, Apple already has its standard for Vision Pro and the haptics on Watch Ultra are a subset of those. What we see in Watch Ultra 2 is just the start of how we control and interact with tech in the future
  • ✔️ WR50 waterproofing. I hope rather than believe that Whoop 5 has improved water resistance.
  • ❌Payments. This would be nice to have. However, I can’t see how Whoop can build authentication/password protection into a non-interactive band nor how it will be able to negotiate contracts with numerous payment providers globally…Garmin can’t for starters, the likes of Apple and Google can.
  • ❌Music, media storage, playback or control. Again, it’s a sports band. You get that fancy stuff from your smartphone.
  • ❌Barometric Altimetry. No, probably not. Whoop would benefit to a small degree as a tracker to have a barometer to measure tings like flights of stairs climbed. A barometric altimeter is an extension of that but would require calibration by GPS to determine vertical metres gained in running & cycling. the most advanced kinds of elevation tracking require a digital elevation model plus GPS…easy enough on a smartphone, less so on a band! Especially one that won’t have GPS.
  • ❌Solar charging. No
  • ✔️Complications: Hope to see WatchOS widgets added to the existing iOS/Android widgets
  • ✔️Clothing – maybe we’ll see some Whoop Any-Wear cycling apparel!

Feature Changes

This site and similar review sites focus on endurance sports. Whilst Whoop does have many valid uses in our realm it is more targeted at gym-based sports like Cross Fit, sports fitness classes and aspirational sports spearheaded by its famous brand ambassadors. There is also a cross-over into recreational running and cycling but probably not so much into triathlon.

Expect feature improvements in those areas rather than attempts to take on Garmin like aiming to be a better endurance aid with features like a track running mode, those kinds of features just won’t (can’t!) happen. Whoop’s focus on the following will likely continue

  • An AI interface to your data and sports science (existing feature)
  • Coaching all major sports, including strength routines (existing feature)
    • Expect machine-learned suggestions to appear that correlate past workouts to past gains to recommend future strategies personal to you
  • Logbook (tagging of perceptions feeds the AI engine with correlations, existing feature)

Take Out

Those are my detailed predictions, inferences, deductions and general trends to watch for with Whoop in 2024. I reckon I’m broadly on the right track for Whoop’s 2024 features.

A typical industry announcement: Expect Whoop to announce its updated hardware features and then deal with the logistical complications of updating hundreds of thousands of customer devices. Expect one, new headline software feature at launch…just to make us feel good!! The new capabilities of the hardware platform will then be used over the next 2-3 year cycle to support the addition of new software features.

From a commercial perspective, Whoop needs to be seen to offer something new. Even if for this reason alone there has to be a meaningful headline improvement or two that encourage you to keep your subscription going and get the next model.

Taken as a whole you can see that I don’t envisage a fundamentally re-imagined Whoop, just an incrementally improved version of the current tech with Whoop very much falling in line with how the major sports tech companies iterate their products.

However, I think I underestimated Whoop slightly in these predictions. Whoop will probably come out with at least one WOW feature. Perhaps the silicon anode battery was that WOW feature for the current model, but expect the trend in 2024-25 to be improvements for gym-related features. So, a better accelerometer, better working PUSH functionality and self-learning motion algorithms could be on the cards.

Good news? The good news is that it will be kinda free! You’re already paying for the subscription, right? 😉 That said, you will probably need 3 months left on your subscription to qualify for any new model.

 

 

Reader-Powered Content

This content is not sponsored. It’s mostly me behind the labour of love which is this site and I appreciate everyone who follows, subscribes or Buys Me A Coffee ❤️ Alternatively please buy the reviewed product from my partners. Thank you! FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: Links pay commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

wp_footer()