I’m NOT a tech insider. I don’t have any secret connections into Chinese manufacturing lines, and the only friends I know that work for Apple are retail employees.
However, for those that have closely followed Apple’s releases in the past, there’s been a steady stream of information leaking out regarding Apple’s upcoming smartwatch (we’ll call it the iWatch). Most importantly, the iWatch WILL be health-focused, and will focus a lot of attention on the quantified self and wellness. Here are some predictions for the iWatch, and the promise it holds for health care providers.
The iWatch will be health-focused, and bring mHealth to the mainstream (and your office)
Mobile health and wellness technology is all the rage, and the iWatch team has well-established roots in health/fitness technologies, including several key hires from the development team responsible for the Nike FuelBand. With the M7 coprocessor revealed in the iPhone 5S, Apple has already tipped their confidence in the importance of health. Furthermore, Apple has already met with the FDA, and is rumored to be building up a “Healthbook” application. Similar to Passbook and its integration with retail partners like Starbucks, ticketing agencies, and Airline companies, I would expect the Healthbook app to be used as a platform for integration. This would include simplifying and sharing health data with other Apple-approved partners.
Stay tuned to iMedicalApps.com as our continued coverage on wearable sensors will extend to the iWatch.
The iWatch will be announced/priced in June, with a September release date, so familiarize yourself with activity trackers now.
As it stands right now, Samsung appears to be the only major consumer technology company with a health-focused smartwatch. However, that won’t last long. The day after Samsung announced the Galaxy S5 and the new health bracelet Gear Fit, well-connected Apple insider John Gruber subtly hinted that June might set the stage both for Apple and Google’s smart watch announcements.
A June unveiling of the iWatch at (or near the time of) Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) makes perfect sense. When it comes to brand new product categories, Apple likes to introduce the product several months early. The original iPhone was announced in January and released in June 2007, the iPad was announced January and released in April 2010. Announcing the iWatch this June at WWDC places the iWatch perfectly in line with an early Fall release of the iWatch, alongside the next iPhone.
Therefore, the time is now for physicians and medical professionals to educate themselves about what these fitness trackers provide. One of the most common questions I hear from physicians is regarding how we can better address lifestyle management with our patients during short patient encounters, and fitness trackers are one tangible option. If they haven’t already started, our patients will be asking for our opinions on which fitness tracker they should buy, whether or not such devices are effective, and what goals they should be targeting when wearing such devices.