Apple is expecting to launch a Smartwatch on Tuesday that will have at least 10 sensors that will help you monitor your health and fitness. The Smartwatch is the missing piece of Apple’s big plan along with HealthKit, a data repository for a users health data that will work with its upcoming new apps like their Health app. Other companies like Google have tried doing something similar (back in 2008) but were unsuccessful and Microsoft has also tried to get into the game. But the keys to Apple’s success will be their timing, innovative team, product development and technology platform.
Collecting all this health and fitness data maybe great but people need to be convinced that they first, even need to collect it, that the data will be safe and then what will they do with it. This is where Apple’s HealthKit and various apps will come into play. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article by Elizabeth Dwoskin and Daisuke Wakabayashi, “consumers now have more incentives to monitor their health because they are shouldering more of the burden of health-care costs. Whats more, a growing number of companies are offering financial rewards for people to adopt healthy behaviors or track things like weight or activity.”
Having some of these new apps from Apple and other digital health companies will also help consumers have a better understanding of the scientific research and the value of the metrics that are collected. For example, I have heard that I should walk 10,000 steps a day and climb at least 8 flights of stairs for optimal health. But is that a minimum or maximum amount of exercise needed to improve strength or prevent a loss of aerobic capacity?
Hopefully all this new technology will help a persons primary care physician have a better snapshot of their patients overall health and fitness level. If the technology can help get individuals moving more and sitting less and help prevent or warn a person that they are, for example, pre-diabetic then that will help everyone and more than one company will win!
Apple’s Next Big Focus: Your Health, Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday Sept 6-7, 2014.