Robbie Gonzalez of Wired wrote a great piece yesterday about Apple’s positioning of the Apple Watch as your health control center. Tim Cook referred to the Watch at WWDC as, “An intelligent guardian for your health.” As Robbie points out in his article, this hasn’t always been the way that Apple has touted the Watch, in fact, the first model of the Watch lacked all the basic components and features to be considered a health-based wearable.
Robbie sums up well here what Apple has done since that first generation Watch to make it the ultimate health-based wearable:
With these latest updates, opting into Apple’s jack-of-all trades approach no longer means sacrificing on specialized features. For consumers who wanted to track their menstrual cycles, Fitbit had been an obvious choice. To monitor long-term trends in their fitness, Garmin was the clear option. But later this year, when a software update enables the Apple Watch to do both, that decision will become more difficult.
This is how Apple eats its competition’s lunch: one bite at a time. Personal health, as the phrase suggests, means different things to different people. The most effective, individualized devices will need to meet users where they are, no matter where that is. By covering as many bases as possible, Apple is positioning itself to do exactly that.
He’s exactly right – Apple has been slowly adding each and every feature and hardware component necessary to match its competitors feature set. The history of the Apple Watch and its 6 WatchOS updates, along with the 4 hardware updates, indicates that Apple plans on making the most comprehensive biometric data collector. The real kicker, however, is the Apple Health app, because it has all the markings of becoming a traffic hub for data coming in and out of the Apple Health app.
Apple made it very apparent at WWDC that the core of their motivation when developing products and services will be built around trust, privacy and security. Therefore, the Apple Health app stands to be not only a safe hub for information as sensitive as our biometrics, but also can be leveraged as a two-way sharing system, to allow for data sharing between medical professionals and their patients. This would require HIPAA-compliance, but as we recently saw Amazon roll out a HIPAA-compliant version of Alexa, I don’t doubt that Apple can gain HIPAA-compliance with its Health-based data.
If this is Apple’s real goal with its Health app, then the question begins to become, “what data collectors will Apple allow to feed into its Health app?”
It’s likely that we’ll see future generations of AirPods equipped with biometric sensors that can capture many (and more) metrics that the Watch captures. We’re seeing hearing aids being outfitted with these type of sensors, so its feasible that the same type of sensors will make their way to AirPods too. In that scenario, Fitbit, Garmin and the other wearables competitors, would then be competing with both the Apple Watch and AirPods.
What about third party collectors, like Fitbit, Garmin or Bluetooth hearing aids equipped with sensors? Apple might ultimately determine that third-party data collected on non-Apple devices, may make sense to add to its Health app due to the more grandiose vision of being the data facilitator between doctor and patient. In that scenario, whether you’re feeding your Apple Health app with data from a Fitbit, a Bluetooth hearing aid, or a Garmin, Apple still benefits because third-party data collection device users would still need to use iOS in order to use Apple’s Health app. Apple then has another arrow in its quiver to convince Android users to make the switch to iOS for its Health hub.
-Thanks for Reading-