Apple-ologizing Healthbook

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/healthbook-book.jpg” thumb_width=”300″ /]With the same obsession that Kremlinologists had during the Cold War, the Apple-ologists at 9to5Mac observe emanations and permutations emitting from Cupertino. Based on their inside sources, they have the lowdown on how Apple will Go Big into healthcare monitoring and fitness tracking.

  • ‘Cards’ in the Healthbook allowing entry for vital signs such as blood pressure, blood glucose, breathing rate, weight, hydration and oxygen saturation (O2). (photo at left above a ‘recreation of screenshots’ by 9to5Mac)
  • Sleep tracking. Apple in February hired Roy J.E.M. Raymannone of the world’s experts in sleep tracking including wearables and sensors, out of Philips.
  • Emergency Card with customer’s name, birthdate, medication information, weight, eye color, blood type, organ donor status, and location.

The rumors tie it to the introduction of iOS 8, the iWatch or both. But beyond the sensors on the phone and/or the iWatch–there’s no information on how telehealth apps, devices or sensors would wirelessly transmit the information. “While Healthbook is capable of tracking, sorting, and managing various types of health and fitness-related data, it is currently uncertain where this data will actually be sourced from.” But Editor Toni noted in February (link below) that Apple just patented headphones which are capable of monitoring temperature, heart rate and perspiration levels. This is Healthbook, Apple’s major first step into health & fitness tracking (9to5Mac). And Wired thinks Apple’s Upcoming Health App Is the Start of Something Huge (Wonder if South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will impound it as an unapproved medical device!)

Previously in TTA: Apple-ologists discern ‘new’ interest in health tech and telehealth [20 July 13], Apple’s tarnished luster, Round 2 [29 July 13], Apple purchasing 3D gesture control developer PrimeSense [19 Nov 13]Apple patents health monitoring headphones with ‘head gesture’ control [19 Feb]

Apple patents health monitoring headphones with ‘head gesture’ control

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/apple-patent-earphones.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Another reminder of Apple’s growing interest in the health monitoring and fitness space is the news that the company has just been granted a patent for a “Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets” (U.S. Patent No. 8,655,004). The biometric headphone system can sense a number of metrics including temperature, heart rate and perspiration levels. It also contains ‘head gesture’ control which could allow users to change music tracks and adjust volume by tilting or rotating their head. Read more in Apple Insider.

Related TTA posts: Sensor-based monitoring coming to an iPhone near you? /  Wearable technology – so much choice, so much data to sell? / Turn up, tune in but don’t drop out with health monitoring earphones

 

Sensors>>data>>what next?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/17L_2.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Three of our FBQs concern data–who’s looking at it, who’s taking action with it and how it’s integrated into records. MedCityNews examines two sensor-based monitors in considering how to extract meaning from the data. In the hospital, bed pressure sensor plate EarlySense already has a pressure sensor algorithm that reminds a nurse or aid to turn the patient, but their main emphasis is highlighting vital signs trending in heart and respiratory rate, which can be predictive of a deteriorating condition based on a set range. For the mid-range of the healthy fit who want to be fitter, MIO (left) is the first and at present, only device in a watch form which tracks heart rate monitoring at performance levels without a chest strap and downloads data to an iPhone–which doesn’t quite support the premise of the article, but then there’s that hint (MIO is sold in Apple Stores for $199) that the technology will wind up in smartwatches….but still, Magic 8 Ball says ‘concentrate and ask again’.

Apple purchasing 3D gesture control developer PrimeSense

Breaking News

Based on the report you read, the deal is done or nearly done, but it is highly likely that Apple will be acquiring Tel Aviv-based PrimeSense for an amount in or around $345 million. PrimeSense developed the original 3D gesture control behind Microsoft Kinect (replaced by their in-house version); the company currently works with Asus and probably Apple. The purchase will enable Apple to add controls with body movements and hand gestures to its smartphone, tablet and TV products, as well as more closely defend its own patents in 3D gesture control lined out in Apple-ology blog 9to5Mac. Nothing in this or other reports about the Apple foray into smartwatches or wearables, but the capability fits. Watch 9to5Mac, TheNextWeb and TechCrunch for updates.

Fashion? Can wearables simply…work?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Apple’s hiring of Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts as Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores to start in spring 2014 may well be indicative of the importance that Apple is putting on 1) smartwatches (she was honcho of a Burberry watch intro) and 2) wearables (she refreshed and upscaled an iconic brand from stores to merchandise). Chris Matyszczyk in Cnet points out that she is the second hire from the fashion industry (the other’s from YSL). On one hand this seems to reinforce that Apple’s strong suit is design; on the other hand it implies that their retail and online stores need to evolve after some recent missteps–and that they may not feel as confident as in the past of their internal capabilities. However this all seems too haute for the simple everyday buyer who wants stuff that helps you live your life better and more conveniently, and who may find it much easier to go to Verizon or Vodaphone for their mobile needs and that Jawbone UP band to wear. And where are the other wearables, say in a Burberry scarf? The Gimlet Eye is blinking in impatience, and it had better be elegant, or Gloria and Babe’s ghosts will be haunting Cupertino. [TTA 25 Oct]  Apple and the emperor’s new wearable tech (Cnet) Hat tip to TANN Ireland Editor Toni BuntingNew Apple Retail Chief Hired Over SummerApple to Hire Burberry CEO (MacRumors).

Turn up, tune in but don’t drop out with health monitoring earphones

microsoft_septimu_earphonesAs part of a recent research project, Microsoft has incorporated health and fitness monitoring into a pair of earphones.

One application being developed for the hardware platform named Septimu, is a smartphone app called Musical Heart. The app enables Septimu to generate tunes based on a person’s mood or activity. So for example, fitness enthusiasts who want to keep the heart rate high can use Musical Heart to automatically up the tempo, helping them keep up the pace. Or for those feeling stressed or angry, Musical Heart could select something more soothing to help bring the heart rate and breathing down to a more relaxed level. Reported in PSFK

A timely study published online last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrated that ‘musical agency’ (i.e. music chosen by the study participants) greatly decreased perceived exertion during strenuous activity. (more…)

iPhone 5’s health tracker-friendly chip

Lost in the somewhat fizzled debut of the iPhone 5s (the pricey one) last week was their inclusion of a “motion coprocessor” chip called the M7, which measures data generated by the phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. Apple has also created the CoreMotion API for developers to facilitate health tracking apps, including the Nike + Move app. It’s catchup time with Samsung’s S Health surely. Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry  This has fueled the expected Apple-ologist divinations on Apple’s ambitions in the wearable computing area, a taste of which you’ll see in GigaOM, though the Trojan Horse analogy is a mite overblown. Hat tip to reader Chris Paton.

Apple’s ‘tarnished luster’, Round 2

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/headeriwatchfinal.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]Today’s disclosure provides Apple-ologists with a major ‘what does this mean’ field day. The exec on the right no longer is on the executive team of the man on the left. On the right, Bob Mansfield, former SVP Technologies; on the left, CEO Tim Cook. AllThingsD last night (US Pacific Time) reported and confirmed that the early Sunday removal of Mr. Mansfield from the website, uncovered by the appropriately named MacRumors, meant precisely that. The ‘special projects’ assignment is usually a face-saver until the contract runs out.

We’ve gleaned some trouble in AppleLand on the odd reiteration of their eHealthy moves but slow progress on the iWatch [TTA 20 July]. It turns out that Mr. Mansfield had already announced his retirement from Apple in last year, but after some internal controversy was persuaded to return in October 2012 with a major title and compensation as head of Technologies until 2014. In this Editor’s experience, these lurebacks never turn out well even when beaucoup bucks are in the mix. We will leave it to the Apple-ologists to figure out the permutations and emanations.

Related: Will this add to the tarnish on the former Appleshine as Dave Logan had it just last week? [TTA 26 July]

Photo credit: 9to5Mac

Apple’s tarnished luster predicted, interestingly

At the point where doctors and their children use iPhones routinely, iPad is the elite tablet and Apple’s balance sheet is deep in cash, University of Southern California business professor and management consultant Dave Logan is warning that the magic is waning. He uses a bit of communication analysis called ‘wordmapping’ that he’s developed to parse the remarks of Apple’s management, notably CEO Tim Cook, and concludes that Apple is losing its way. There is no longer a revolutionary-in-residence imagining something from nothing…none on the horizon, either. Apple-ologists have been tap dancing around this for awhile, but the protracted development of the Apple smartwatch is pinging all sorts of alarms, despite the flurry of activity in and around health ‘n’ fitness [TTA 20 July] We’ve been to this movie before when Blackberry was a must-have and dubbed ‘Crackberry.’ A rather cheeky headline that’s made a few AppleFans upset. Why Apple is a dead company walking (CBS MoneyWatch)

Related: Want to try wordmapping for yourself as a tool for ‘instant rapport’? Mr. Logan dishes on the fascinating pointers here.

Stats on medical apps on Apple & Android

iMedicalApps reports on the latest stats on medical apps on Apple & Android.  Overall figures show Apple with more than twice as many as Android.  It would be interesting to know how that split would be for apps aimed at patients – notwithstanding the previous post, I get the impression that the balance between the two is evening up.

There is a stark contrast between these numbers (over 19,000 for Apple, just over 8,000 on Google Play) and the small number of medical apps approved by the FDA (just over 100 according to a comment on the report) and on the NHS Choices health apps library.  Even making a very generous allowance for clinician-focused apps, this still emphasises the importance of the work underway just now on ordering the market to give users greater confidence in the safety and efficacy of what they download.

Apple-ologists discern ‘new’ interest in health tech and telehealth

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 ShineAliveCor‘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.

Doctors wild about…what works

In the first half of the following blog item the author makes some valid points about doctors being quick to adopt mobile devices but that they were also quick to discover that the available apps are not much use in their work. The second half turns into a ‘knock Apple and big-up Windows 8 on tablets’ session. But then, as the author is Bill Crounse, MD, Senior Director, Worldwide Health at Microsoft, it would be surprising if he didn’t take that opportunity. Doctors wild about….. what works Hat tip to Bob Pyke.

UPDATE: related item, thanks to Toni Bunting: Health apps won’t reach core NHS patients (The Guardian). An NHS commissioner, writing under a pseudonym, also bemoans the lack of focus on appropriate apps and/or their use in the NHS. What the author focuses on is that the majority of NHS users are “the elderly, deprived and poorly-educated” and these people are less likely than most to be wielding and using smartphones.