Apple has entered the wearables market by unveiling their Apple Watch last week, leaving many people disappointed with their offering to the healthcare space.
Apple Watch has been designed as a “user friendly, aesthetically pleasing hybrid smartwatch and fitness tracker.” The device is not meant to be used exclusively for healthcare and will allow users to check emails and answer calls while running apps to track heart rate, calories, activity level and certain fitness activities. It also works with other fitness apps, such as Nike+.
From a medical perspective, Apple Watch seems to be geared more towards tracking fitness rather than gathering medically relevant health metrics. Similar to other smart watches on the market, Apple is marketing their watch as an accessory to maintain good health. This has led to an increasing number of reports saying Apple has inferior fitness capabilities compared to the competition.
Apple is competing against organisation such as Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony, Jawbone and Fitbit in the wearable healthcare technology space. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, called Apple Watch a “comprehensive” health and fitness device, but without more details on how the product will link with Apple Health and perform as a health device, medical professionals will likely adopt a wait-and-see approach before buying into it.
Apple might be playing down any potential medical benefits for people with serious conditions to avoid applying for the necessary approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can make benefit claims.
In recently released transcripts from Apple’s meetings with the FDA, the company’s executives are quoted as saying, “There may be a moral obligation to do more,” when discussing their role in healthcare. It will be interesting to see what healthcare features and additional sensors Apple will unveil in later versions of the product.
Apple Watch is set to hit stores in early 2015 for around $350.