The Apple Watch Has Become Quite the Lifesaver

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When you refer to a product as a lifesaver, it’s usually an exaggeration referring to something makes makes simple tasks a little easier. However, that isn’t the case anymore when it comes to the Apple Watch. We are now seeing multiples stories per month talking about how an Apple Watch notified its wearer of a dangerously elevated heart rate, leading to a diagnosis of a critical condition or illness. In fact, there was a new report of just such an event from Hong Kong just a couple of days ago.

Apple has squarely focused the Apple Watch on health and fitness over the last two years, and these stories are ample evidence that this approach is paying off. I actually have to wonder if the Watch’s lead designers imagined that their heart rate monitoring features would be this successful. Could they have known in advance how much positive press these features would bring? It’s one thing to serve up helpful data to your users, but did they really expect to literally save the lives of som of their users?

Here is a quick list of some of the stories of people who were notified of critical illnesses and life-threatening conditions by an Apple Watch:

There have already been studies that informed us that the Apple Watch’s heart rate monitoring tech is the most accurate among smartwatches. This is already a great benefit for those who are using their Watches for fitness and exercise monitoring. Now we have real, verifiable evidence of just how valuable that data can be for people battling chronic health conditions. However, it is also important to recognize that most, if not all of the individual cases listed above involved Apple Watch users who had no idea that they were facing a potential health crisis. That makes the Apple Watch’s monitoring capabilities all the more important for anyone who wears one.

The interesting question now that Apple has established its credibility in not just fitness, but health monitoring as well, is where will they go next? There are so many possibilities, from the research Apple has conducted into less invasive blood sugar monitoring to true blood pressure monitoring, to more detailed management features for chronic diseases. I expect Apple to put its full weight behind these features and initiatives, because unlike AI and machine learning, they are already well out in front in both market share and public perception in health and wearables. I expect them to build on that lead however possible, and sooner rather than later.

Apple has shown that they are committed to health and fitness and they now have a commanding position in the wearables market thanks to the Apple Watch and AirPods. They now have an opportunity to change the way their users view their health and fitness, and also how they share that information with their healthcare providers. I expect that we will hear a lot about their coming plans at WWDC in three weeks.


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