When Steve Jobs revealed the Apple iPhone ten years ago, he and the company changed the very foundations of mobile technology, putting in place the features that would eventually be adopted by mobile developers all around the world.
Back then the iPhone was a relatively simple device compared to what it is now. Jobs advertised three features that would become ideal for the iPhone’s success. Its implementation of the iPod with touch controls, its use as a mobile phone and the potential ease of it connecting to the internet made it revolutionary.
Multiple upgrades, features and models have placed Apple atop the technology leader board, but the company’s products can often be divisive and declining sales have stemmed enthusiasm.
Whilst Apple might be typically known for its foray into commercial products such as the iPhone or iMac, recently the tech giant has taken a big step into the world of digital health.
Perhaps the company’s biggest step into the market is through its Research Kit, an open source framework created by Apple to help researchers and developers create apps for medical research. Developers and researchers can collect data that users produce by using various apps within Research Kit. The enabling of connected health data can potentially be used to gain insights into various health features such as heart rate, sleep patterns or body temperature, which can subsequently benefit any researchers involved into medical trials.
Indeed, last year Apple acquired health start-up Gliimpse, a company which produces personal health data platforms where Americans can collect and share their health information. It makes sense that Apple would acquire Gliimpse. After all, the company streamlined the mobile phone and they can potentially do the same thing with wearable health technology.
Speaking to CNBC earlier last year, CEO of Apple, Tim Cook said: “Arguably the health care system can be made much simpler, can have much better results, you can have patients that really feel like customers…and have systems and applications that bring out the best in the medical professionals…I think the runway there is enormous.”
When Apple launched its Smart Watch Series 2 last year, it did so by marketing the product as a serious wearable fitness device, designed to benefit the wearer’s health. Its step towards the market shows that the company predicts a digitally integrated health ecosystem.
We can see the change occurring already. More and more people are wearing devices such as the Apple Watch or Fitbit to monitor their health, and there is a plethora of apps available to people suffering from a range of conditions.
Apple’s future will still undoubtedly rely upon its consumer products, but perhaps its most interesting developments will come from its venture into the digital health space.