There’s been a lot of chatter, analysis, and overall hot takes about Apple’s new credit card, the Apple Card, transpiring the past few weeks online. One of the best pieces I have read on the subject came from longtime Apple analyst, Horace Dediu (@asymco). Horace begins by tearing down the fallacies in the tired, old cliche, “we were promised flying cars and we got x,” that is often used to trivialize much of the innovation that’s occurred in the past few decades. While flying cars represent, “extrapolated technologies,” innovations like the Apple Card would represent “market creating” technologies that are often much more ubiquitous, popular and behavior changing (read his piece to fully understand this point).
There was one point that he made in the article that I really want to hone in on today as I think there’s a direct parallel that can be drawn that pertains to FuturEar:
“Here’s the thing: follow the integration. First, Apple Card comes after Apple Pay, more than 4 years ago. Apple Card builds on the ability to transact using a phone, watch and has the support of over 5000 banks. Over 10 billion transactions have been made with Apple Cash. Over 40 countries are represented.”
“Follow the integration.” That’s the best way to really understand where Apple is headed. As I have written about before, Apple tends to incrementally work their way into new verticals and offerings, and if you follow the acquisitions, the product development – the integration – you start to get a sense of what’s to come with future product and service offerings.
A good example of this would be to look at the burgeoning Apple Health ecosystem. There are two separate areas to focus on: the software and services, and the hardware. In 2014, Apple began the formation of said ecosystem by introducing the Apple Health app and its Health Kit software development kit (SDK), which was a year before the Apple Watch. This might have been cause for some head scratching as there wasn’t a whole lot of hardware on the market prior to the Apple Watch that could feed data into Apple Health (except the basic inertial data from the phone)?
A year later, in 2015, the Apple Watch came out which would become the main source to populate the data in the Apple Health app. Flash forward to today and Apple has rolled out two more SDKs and iterated on the Apple Watch four times to create a much more sophisticated biometric data collector. On the SDK front, CareKit allows for third party app developers to create consumer-focused applications around data collected by the Apple Watch or with data collected in the third party apps, such as apps centered around Parkinson’s, diabetes, and depression. ResearchKit helps to facilitate large-scale studies for researchers, all centered around Apple’s health ecosystem.
Five years after the kickoff of Apple’s health ecosystem, Apple has laid the groundwork to move deeper and deeper into the healthcare ecosystem. In 2018, the company announced AC Wellness, a set of medical clinics designed to, “deliver the world’s best health care experience to its employees.” It’s not hard to imagine Apple using these clinics as guinea pigs and then roll them out beyond their own employees. In August of 2018, Apple added its 75th health institution to support personal health records on the iPhone.
Just as there were years of innovation and incremental pieces of progress leading to the Apple Card, the same can be said for Apple Health. Follow the integration and you’ll start to get a sense of where Apple is headed.
-Thanks for Reading-