The Apple Watch is on the cover of the March issue of women’s health and fitness magazine, Self, worn by Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel. There is also a 12-page marketing spread for Apple Watch in Vogue.
While Apple Watch hopes to be the “it” fashion accessory of 2015, many are anticipating its release as a hub for health. News is coming March 9 as Apple schedules a “special event” in San Francisco at 10 am PDT. Link to watch live.
Health Monitoring Features You Won’t Find on Apple Watch
You won’t be able to measure blood pressure or stress levels, but the NYT says Apple Watch will include a heart rate sensor and a tracker for movement.
The WSJ says Apple did not include some health monitoring features originally explored for the first Apple Watch because sensors failed to function as expected. (UPDATE: MobiHealth says Apple did not announce those features last September.)
Interpreting patient-generated health data for users was also a regulatory concern. But new FDA guidance allows devices that display, but not interpret data, to bypass regulatory approval, according to Politico. It also reports Apple, Intel and others were part of a sustained lobbying effort for more relaxed FDA regulations.
Would Steve Jobs have waited on Apple Watch?
Should Apple Watch have been unveiled last September, before it was ready? In the past, new Apple product launches were a surprise. Steve Jobs only revealed the form factor for an Apple product after he considered it a winner for both form and function. And Apple didn’t need to be first, just better. For example, Apple was not the first to come up with an MP3 player, but when it launched the iPod, it was unquestionably – cool.
Cool can’t be measured like the wealth of Apple shareholders, but you know it when you see it. While I have been an Apple fan girl for … a long time, I can’t say that I am taken by the Watch’s boxy design. Apple recently hired designer Marc Newson known for signature curves.
Five million Watch devices were ordered for the launch. And while Apple Watch will probably set smartwatch sales records, will it deliver form and function? Time will tell.
One functional flaw affecting smartwatches is battery life. With a projected one-day battery life, some predict the timing is not right, and Apple Watch will flop. Pebble Time recently set funding records on Kickstarter and boasts a ten-day battery life.
With the rise in wearables, health is cooler than ever
Apple wants to bridge consumer wellness and healthcare, and empower individuals to manage their own health. Salesforce reports millennials want to do just that. In fact, 63 percent say they would be interested in proactively providing their health data from wearable devices to their physician. But physicians are concerned about managing patient-generated health data, according to hospital pilots for Apple’s HealthKit.
Companies that make watch apps will probably play an important role in defining the purpose of the Apple Watch, similar to the app developers for the iPhone and the iPad. – NYT
Apple Health most popular self-tracking iPhone app
Apple Watch will need to coordinate with Apple iPhone. BetaWorks recently conducted a study of over 40,000 iPhone users to see which apps people kept on their homescreens. These are the apps people supposedly use the most.
In the self-tracking category, Apple Health app topped the list by far at 23.45 percent, according to Ernesto Ramirez of QuantifiedSelf.com.
If you take out Apple Health and outliers, Ramirez shows these fourteen apps appeared most often: Coach.me, Day One, Fitbit, Health Mate (Withings), Moves, MyFitnessPal, Nike+, Pedometer++, Runkeeper, Runtastic Pro, Sleep Better, Sleep Cycle, Strava, and UP (Jawbone). Read more on wearables and apps.
News for developers
More smartwatch news comes from the Mobile World Congress, running through March 5 in Barcelona. The Huawei, running Android Wear, is attracting a lot of attention, and the LG Watch Urbane LTE version is experimenting with bringing back a WebOS to a mobile device.
A future where a mobile device is not tied to one or another behemoth OS would be welcome, and this is where true innovation lies.
Also in March:
- Philips is hosting a Healthsuite Hackathon on March 6, where developers will work on pulling data from trackers, remote monitoring devices for the home, and hospitals.
- Developers will convene at Wearable TechCon in Santa Clara, March 9-11, to talk about Apple WatchKit, and fitness apps for the Apple Store and Google Play.
The rise in wearables is also improving the design of functional devices for chronic disease. Below is the Embrace epilepsy tracker.
An attractive twist to an analog design is the minimal Minuteman One-Hand.
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