Apple Watch may not be as ‘healthy’ as touted

click to enlargeAccording to multiple press sources in the past 24 hours, the anxiously-awaited Apple Watch is rumored to be having big trouble with its more advanced healthcare measuring features. We noted at the time “Haptic engine and heart rate monitor; 4 lenses. infrared, LED, photo sensors detect pulse.” plus daily activity [TTA 9 Sep, 11 Sep 14]. Well, not quite. The Wall Street Journal broke the news that it will not debut in April including monitoring of “blood pressure, heart activity and stress levels” as originally planned because, simply, the watch did not measure them reliably and accurately (hairy, sweaty arms!), they were too complex or required regulatory approval (not so–see FDA and MDDS).

Apple has relied on the Watch to defend its Still Most Innovative Company Post-Jobs turf, in the face of overall slowing growth in smartphone sales, stalling tablet sales and much more competitive smartphone pricing, all of which hurt premium-priced Apple. Yet they are betting big on an item that no one is quite sure has a home (or an arm) with a wider market beyond the early adopters, and pricing it at a premium–a base of $349 to a ludicrously luxe top of about $4,000. The initial estimates of 30-60 million watches in its first 12 months have been scaled back to about 12 million. Also mHealthNews and MedCityNews.

And of course the breathless speculation on a self-driving, electric Apple Car codenamed ‘Titan’ was fueled this weekend by the same Wall Street Journal, but it may be diversionary, according to Forbes, which sourly noted “Whether or not Apple scraps its wrist device, the Apple Watch will remind us of what we are all missing because Apple under Tim Cook has yet to prove that it can innovate.”

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Comments

  1. “The Wall Street Journal broke the news that it will not debut in April including monitoring of “blood pressure, heart activity and stress levels” as originally planned because, simply, the watch did not measure them reliably (hairy, sweaty arms!), they were too complex or required regulatory approval (not so–see FDA and MDDS)”

    I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is a problem. Neither the iPhone or iPad ships with a social network on it but you can download the Facebook, Twitter app etc and hey presto.

    Why wouldn’t Apple want to support partners (firms like Epic, Stanford Medical School, Nike, Under Amour, etc) to build and tweak these apps, contribute their talents, add their brands, marketing clout, etc, etc?

    “Apple has relied on the Watch to defend its Still Most Innovative Post-Jobs title, in the face of overall slowing growth in smartphone sales, stalling tablet sales and more competitive smartphone pricing”

    I think that’s an unjustified view as Apple continues to grow and post increased profits. I think Apple’s Watch is focused on a very different agenda eg. to distract everyone from the massive disruption it’s making in the payments market with Apple Pay, because it appreciates Moores Law is driving exponential change in the wearable market, etc.

    http://mhealthinsight.com/2014/09/10/a-few-mhealth-insights-into-the-apple-watch/

    “Yet they are depending on a an item that no one is quite sure has a home (or an arm) with a wider market beyond the early adopters, and pricing it at a premium–a base of $349 to a luxe top of about $4,000. The initial estimates of 30-60 million watches in its first 12 months have been scaled back to about 12 million”

    Even if it’s scaled back to 12 million units that will still put an extra $12 Billion on Apple’s bottom line from a product line that pushes them further up market (they need that to maintain profit levels/stay aspirational) and is not only uncompetitive with their existing products but complements them.

    “And of course the breathless speculation on a self-driving, electric Apple Car codenamed ‘Titan’ was fueled this weekend by the same Wall Street Journal, but it may be diversionary”

    It’s interesting to notice that the big wigs in the auto industry are being blindsided by the mobile industry in ways that are similar to that seen in the Pharma/Medical Device industry. Big firms like Mercedes, BMW, GM are at their industry events trumping out lines like “a car isn’t just a big phone ha ha ha” and “in car entertainment and managing driving data is really difficult and no one else understands our customers as well as we do” that highlight their naivety.

    For a good example check out Mercedes’ CES autonomous driving show car that was so tethered to the idea of having someone steering it that it had a steering wheel positioned behind 3 ft long A pillars which would make it about as enjoyable as trying to drive your current car while sitting in the back seat!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnLqt4jLYdg

    They simply have no idea that they are about to have the screens and data from their cars completely taken over by competitors who are arriving from the mobile industry eg. Apple CarPlay, Google’s Android Auto and whatever startups can make it (without being acquired).

    “according to Forbes, which sourly noted “Whether or not Apple scraps its wrist device, the Apple Watch will remind us of what we are all missing because Apple under Tim Cook has yet to prove that it can innovate.”

    Be careful to note that “Peter Cohan” is a Forbes “Contributor”. Contributors aren’t on the payroll and opinions they express are their own. Best to think of them as independent bloggers writing on the Forbes website.

  2. Donna Cusano

    Hi David….
    As you know I tend to be ‘gimlety’ and skeptical. I’ve been consistently skeptical about smartwatches, because on the hierarchy of ‘needs’, most people (and I include the tech-sophisticated) who can afford these watches rate a better smartphone or tablet/convertible a higher need. And after buying the Apple Watch, having to download an app and not have it fully functional out of the box? Oh, and you’d better have an iPhone 5 or 6.

    The Apple Watch may push the smartwatch position higher, but I’m beginning to think not, or not right away. In our own little world of digerati, I see very few people wearing smartwatches of any type–and they are all men. By now that should be not so.

    Re the cars–self-driving cars have their place and can enable those who cannot drive but need transport in maintaining mobility and independence. But a mass market? I like that Apple is investigating this (Peter Cohan not withstanding), but if I were an Apple shareholder, I might not be so enthusiastic about an off-side investment.

    On a side note, the car as a social and entertainment hub is an accident waiting to happen. First, I am in metro NY where driving is a competitive sport in avoiding crashes and the roads are themselves an obstacle course. Second, I am a car enthusiast since early teenage years (yes, a bit unusual) and that includes antique/vintage cars. Dashes are too complicated already for safe driving for a lot of people. We have enough driving distractions that can be disastrous on busy roads at speed or on local roads where people let down their guard or are yakking on the phone. Personally, I don’t need or want a car that is social or connected to the internet; in fact I prefer the relief of the engine, the road and maybe the radio. Yup, I do not use the phone while driving because it is a huge distraction–that is what voice mail is for. Besides, I have to stay focused to avoid the driver on the phone, fooling with the dash display or putting on makeup!

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