The Apple Watch is one of Apple’s most popular products, and while it’s not the first to have some health features baked in or promoted, it’s definitely leaning even more heavily on its wearer’s health than any other of Apple’s branded devices.
The Apple Watch started out as a pretty simple and straightforward smartwatch, but, now in its fourth series, it has graduated to a full-on health-related device. That will only intensify when watchOS 5.1.2 launches later today and launches the ECG app for the Apple Watch Series 4. Leading up to that, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams sat down with TIME to talk about what is probably the Apple Watch’s biggest new feature to date.
To start, Cook comes out swinging and makes one thing very clear: the health of its customers is important to Apple as a whole, and that will continue well into the future. In fact, according to Cook, Apple’s “largest contribution” as a company from this point on will be “improving people’s health and well-being”. But that has some folks wondering if Apple should be playing that role at all, and whether or not it will cause a surge of hospital visits when one might not be necessary, all because a smartwatch suggested something might be wrong.
“If everybody with an Apple Watch and an alert from an Apple Watch went to a heart-rhythm doctor that was super comfortable with this, then I think it would be O.K.,” says Dr. John Mandrola, a cardiac electrophysiologist practicing in Louisville, Ky. “But there are going to be millions of people going to the doctor that in many cases will be just fine.”
But, according to Williams, this is all about information and giving people their own power with it. That comes from the plethora of devices out there in the wild, which Apple realizes started out as an opportunity but, ultimately, evolved into a responsibility:
“We have tens of millions of watches on people’s wrists, and we have hundreds of millions of phones in people’s pockets,” says Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who oversees the company’s health projects. “There’s a huge opportunity to empower people with more information about their health. So this is something we view as not only an opportunity, but a responsibility of ours.”
And, going further, Apple says that it’s aware not every medical test is 100 percent accurate, and that some false positives will happen. Apple is trying to limit those instances, though, including the fact it will only alert the owner if it has detected “five instances of what it considers a cardiovascular episode”.
What do you think? Is this a market that Apple should be stepping into?
The in-depth look at Apple, and Silicon Valley, in regards to health is certainly worth a read. You can find it through the source link below.