With the same obsession that Kremlinologists had during the Cold War, the Apple-ologists at 9to5Mac divine that Apple is now suddenly interested in the sensor-based fitness sector of telehealth. Recent remarks by their CEO have been examined like the mutterings of the Oracles at Delphi. Their SVP of Technologies has been spotted wearing a Nike FuelBand, just like the CEO–and by looking at his picture, he does need it! Apple Marketing folks have been examining wearables like the Jawbone UP! (naturally as competition, duh!) Far more indicative from their sources: An all-star team from semiconductors to batteries to sensors is working in secrecy on the long-awaited iWatch. Talent’s been snatched from telehealth sensor companies AccuVein (vein mapping), the recently defunct C8 MediSensors (blood monitoring), and Senseonics (embedded sensor for blood glucose). And they are most interested in sleep tracking. iWatch’s novelty emerges as Apple taps sensor and fitness experts
Apple’s been interested all along in healthcare–and others have been interested in Apple
No surprise to TTA readers, as you’ve been tracking Apple’s and competition’s healthcare moves along with us from the start.
- the iPad in hospitals and their preliminary tests starting in early 2011 when tablets were new and untried [TTA 8 Feb 2011]
- Editor Steve on the Apple Smart Shoe US Patent application back in January
- Samsung’s hype on healthcare devices and software on the new Galaxy S4–fitness tracking disruptor?
- 5.5 million plus of health app downloads (US) from the App Store (May)
- the development of many devices that are based on the iPhone (Misfit Shine, AliveCor‘s ECG, the Ozcan microscope and food testers only a few)
- …though Microsoft’s Surface for healthcare back in February is likely a dud–MS just wrote off $900 million with the Surface RT, lowered its price (though only a fool with money to burn would buy it) and the Pro continues to struggle (ZDNet)
Smartwatches as the 2013-2014 tablet…and will they knock out fitness bands?
But this press focus on ‘Apple for Health’ does disguise that Apple is behind the curve, not leading it, on the watch form factor. Just like the Soviets, Apple better get a move-on or lose the race that gets serious next year. Smartwatches are fast becoming the new tablet [TTA 2 July]. One rosy industry estimate has 5 million units sold by end of 2014 (Canalys Research in Gigaom). Sony’s been there for awhile. Pebble sold 275,000 pre-orders through Kickstarter, their web store and now retail through Best Buy. This week the rumor broke among the Microsoft-ologists that they are working on an aluminum smartwatch with a 1.5-inch screen and a band out of Star Trek IV. (The comments below the TechCrunch article on the very thought of smartwatches are a good chuckle!) And undoubtedly looking over their shoulder because they’re gaining on you, contrary to Satchel Paige’s advice, are Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike, wondering if they’ll be the next Zeo.