During the earliest conceptual phase of the Apple Watch, one could only imagine that the watch would be similar and within the confines of what users already experienced with their smart phones.
The company has already made strides in cornering the home computing market, music market, and the smart phone market, but the watch market?
And while the sales for the Apple Watch have apparently not been record-breaking — an estimated $3 billion isn’t chump change, but is still considered a flop in comparison to its other products; to those who are looking for a more immediate impression, the Apple Watch just hasn’t been the cultural game changer that fans and critics had hoped for. But there is more to the Apple Watch than our restricted view of the future will allow us to imagine, as Time reports that the proprietary company has been hard at work doing health research in their labs.
What’s of most importance is the kind of research.
The article describes a lab that appears to be a combination of a health club and medical research facility, with full-time nurses, state-of-the-art medical equipment, and people of every shape and size completing a series of exercises while wearing the Apple Watch, and testing out the health apps.
More importantly, however, it describes the effort by the company as built from what the late CEO and creator, Steve Jobs, might have wanted, when he was going through treatments as he was fighting pancreatic cancer.
The writer of the article, Tim Bajarin, is not only a consultant, but a futurist who can perhaps see the idea of the Apple Watch much farther than we can.
It explains how in the context of Jobs’ cancer treatment, a device such as the Apple Watch could have been something that would have made him more aware of his health.
“Although the Apple Watch came to market years after Jobs’ death, and it’s not clear that he even knew about the watch, it does seem he was aware that a mobile device would be needed to enhance health monitoring. But given the Apple Watch’s exceptional health related tracking, monitoring and motivational functions, I am convinced he would be delighted with it.”
Health monitoring is certainly a trend that is constantly evolving with the advances of technology, where competing companies have tried to stake their claim.
For instance, as of 2015, the company has put together a series of software developer kits that will allow developers to create apps for the healthcare professional and the consumer, and will allow for the sharing of health related information to another device owner or the user’s doctor, as collected through the Apple Watch.
ReadWrite explains the function of these apps in an article that suggests their effort is a challenge to others who are trying to compete with similar products, suggesting that they have a lot of work to do.
For instance, ResearchKit is a development framework where scientists and doctors can create medical apps that will “recruit patients for clinical trials and research products.”
It further explains this in relation to the CareKit, which began in March of this year. But more importantly in relation to the research reportedly going on in their labs, these apps and how they’re used will do more to improve the gathering and distributing of factual information, in a new industry that isn’t regulated.
For instance, much like herbal remedies sold by the on-line shamans, the article refers to the apps created for help with depression, which have spread incorrect information.
“Apple’s efforts leads to a greater professionalisation of ‘health and wellbeing’ apps- a lucrative industry that lacks any accredited regulation. At present they do not need to be designed by or in collaboration with health professionals or endorse tools or treatments that are subject to peer reviewed papers and research based trials.”
“The long game” is appropriately what the makers of the Apple Watch are playing, where they’re once again thinking outside the box, in order to innovate and successfully build a product they can honestly change habits and improve the quality of people’s lives.