Apple released its Watch Series 4 on October 12th, 2018. When Apple releases a device, they also release the platforms and ecosystems that support the device. In the past few years, Apple has doubled down on its smartwatch development more than the iPhones, its strongest foothold. Some even say that iPhones have become boring, and the real deal is the Apple Watch. How important is the relationship between healthcare and wearable technology? There is some substance to the argument as Apple has been investing considerably in the research and development of Watch because it takes forward Apple’s vision of “tech changing people’s lives.”
Apple Watch is more than a cool gadget that tells time. It has many health-oriented capabilities as well. At the recent event, Apple COO Jeff Williams said, “Fitness is at the core of Apple Watch.” Therefore, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Apple Watch is very much a health product.
Apple Inc. is an ingenious company that stays significantly ahead of its competitors. While every electronic company is still innovating in the mobile space, Apple has taken a different direction. They have started focusing on wearables as they believe the easy accessibility of technology is the future. Apple Watch Series 4 is an incredible piece of hardware with many sensors embedded into a tiny little structure. The Series 4 has advanced sensors which constantly monitor bodily activities and provide necessary insights to the user in real-time.
While there are many experimental projects Apple runs behind closed doors, some of these are laid off in development. However, Apple Watch did see the light of the day finally, and it has come into existence. Let’s find out how all of that happened over the years.
The Story behind the Apple Smart Watches
When the first personal computer hit the market for the first time in the 1980s, it was a device without a purpose. Everyone wrote off computers as unproductive and useless. PCs didn’t do much other than calculating basic sums and writing notes on the WordPad. No one wanted an expensive box with functions as basic as a calculator. There was no peripheral device like printers to make use of typed notes on computers.
Mainframe computers were at the helm, and they were used extensively by corporations. Luddites, who were basically tech conservatives, saw personal computers as a means to feed tech nerd’s futuristic dreams of the World at their fingertips. They condescendingly disapproved of the culture of PC and showed its futility for having no future.
Fast forward 30 years, and we are living in a Digital Age where computers are ubiquitous, and smartphones are the latest entrant in consumer technology. All these tech products are making our lives better, convenient, and stress-free. Just imagine how much more efficient we are with these devices or maybe, how helpless we will be without them.
The way computers were ridiculed for their seemingly aimless purpose, new technologies like wearables also face similar kinds of criticism. To rewind a bit, when the first Apple Watch came in the market three years back in 2015, people laughed it off, saying it’s a $300 watch that tells you what time it is.
But as always, the classic “told you so” pattern played out. And the Apple smartwatches caught on well. What time has shown, the Watch seems to be best suited for health metrics. In this day and age, the current population is more aware and informed of health issues. Then previous generations. If used for the right purposes and with a little bit of care on the individual’s part, this device might save lives and, hopefully, increase health awareness.
To fully understand the genesis of this Watch, you have to understand Apple’s philosophy first. The core of Apple’s vision is borrowed from its founder, Steve Jobs. He believed in creating a product elegant from both inside and outside, as much as humane and accessible. Jobs perceived the idea of a movable device that can fit in the palm, which later came out to be an iPhone. However, the technology had not caught up, and he had to wait for almost 20 years to bring his ideas to the table. This kind of prescience about technology puts Apple in a different league among its competitors.
Jobs’ Dream of a Better Tomorrow
Apple has historically been a secretive company. No one knows what this Cupertino-based tech enterprise is experimenting with behind its closed doors. Neither do they let the World know what they are hiding under their sleeves? The company had brought the first edition of the Apple Watch to the public back in 2015. However, later, reports pointed out that Apple started working on this Watch in 2011.
In essence, Jobs imagined the future of technology even before mobile phones were a common sight. At present, mobile devices are still innovating, and the consumer needs are ever-expanding, yet Apple is focusing on the Watch.
So, to lay Apple’s grand strategy in words, it’s making technology easier and simpler for everyone. There is a reason why Apple keeps repeating, “it just works.” Now when you think of Apple Watch, it makes sense at a whole new level. Apple Watch is the latest addition to its product line, and they are planning to put every useful technology into that tiny piece of hardware soon.
The steep turn Apple Watch took from a fancy gadget to a medical device is fascinating to see. The Watch is not approved for medical usage. Instead, these receive consumer-grade certifications, meaning they are “information only” devices. Let’s dive deep into the health aspect of Apple Series 4 and see how it can change people’s lives for the better.
How Can these Little Things Make a Big Difference?
Smartwatches are definitely the thing of the future with the convenience of use that they have. You’ll be able to use it for many different things, much more than you can think with a smartphone. The best part is that it stays attached to your body, i.e., around your wrist.
With that, there is the possibility of tracking your health metrics fairly accurately. So, it is a boon to the healthcare industry, other than being an awesome device in its own rights. With all the progress in the healthcare industry, one can only speculate regarding the upper limits of the possibilities.
So, now to talk about a few things that are already very viable about this discussion.
Apple Watch Series 4 has a unique way of tracking different activities. It has something called the Ring, which has three different shades of color that indicate Stand, Exercise, and Move. While this feature has been there since the first Watch, Apple has improved the sensors for accurate tracking.
Moreover, with the help of GPS Service and Accelerometer, the Watch detects immobility and alerts the user to stand and take a short walk. Medical science says sitting for long hours increases the chance of diabetes. So, Apple is trying to make people healthier by reminding them from time to time to go out for a brisk walk.
Exercise (the second tracker) asks the user to do some workout that raises the heart rate consistently. The Watch recommends taking a brisk walk or using stairs while in the office. In Apple Watch Series 4, it has intelligent algorithms that learn body patterns and monitor heart rate. Meanwhile, the Watch learns your body habit and pushes to do more with time.
The third metric is the Move. This indicates the calories you have burned throughout the day. It takes the data on heart rate, exercises, walks into account, and measures calorie burnt. This will help shed weight as you would be able to monitor your progress and make changes accordingly.
Apple Series Watch 4 has an in-built Workout App. You can get more information about the App from Apple Support. This app can detect workouts the moment you start doing the activity. Earlier, the user had to set individual activity before working out. However, with automatic workout detection, you can start working without fear of losing workout data as well.
Further, it supports gym activity, swimming, and running. The Series 4 Watch is integrated with few equipment brands for direct data feeding to the app. All this data will make the gadget understand your body to provide important insights for further improvements.
Photo by Daniel Cañibano on Unsplash
ECG on the Go
With a wearable smartwatch, tracking heart activity data is easier than ever before. It is a major development in the field of science and tech research. Never before such a technology managed to catch the attention of the industry.
Heart rate monitoring was available on earlier versions of the Watch, but it used a pulse detector to reflect LED lights on the skin. Doctors have said that this method is inaccurate as there are many layers of tissue on the skin. The Apple Watch Series 4 essentially sends electrical signals directly to the heart and interprets heart rhythms.
Accordingly, doctors confirmed that sending electrical signals is the traditional method for assessing heart rate, and it’s used in hospitals. For this very reason, the FDA has cleared Apple Watch Series 4 as a medical device. This is certainly a great occurrence since it can save lives due to real-time and accurate heart rate monitoring.
Not only this, but it can also detect irregular rhythms and atrial fibrillation before something untoward happens. World Health Organization says heart diseases are one of the major reasons for most deaths around the World. With this technology, Apple has made a vital advancement in the space of health and technology.
Additionally, they are also collaborating with the researchers of Stanford University under the Apple Heart Study program. This is mainly to understand atrial fibrillation and its consequences. Increasingly, Apple is posturing as a health company. It’s only good news for all of us, and tech companies around the World can start taking health seriously.
DeepHeart and Emergency
With this new technology, there are thoughtful additions to the alertness and well-being of the user in mind. The Watch constantly collects data and uses Machine Learning to understand the symptoms of diseases. Many users have come up and shared their stories. An Apple watch user was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. The Watch detected an unusually high heart rate even at rest, which kept alerting the user of irregular behavior.
While many think Apple Watch is a fashionable gadget, but in essence, it could be a life-saving device. One of the important aspects of the Apple Watch is DeepHeart, a cardiogram learning neural network that Apple has developed to understand heart diseases. It can positively detect diabetes, hypertension, and sleep disorder with 85% accuracy. This is a serious technological advancement capable of changing our lives forever.
We all have felt that uneasy feeling when we haven’t had that good night of rest. Sleep deprivation creating an uneasy feeling is a gross understatement. A lot more damage has been done to your body with just one night of poor sleep. And, this is pervasive in today’s society.
However, better late than not at all. Research clearly pointing out the fatal dangers of sleep deprivation. Apple has responded with the Apple watch series 4. It can now track your sleeping patterns and quality.
That way, you’ll have all the necessary information you need regarding how your sleep is going. Further, if you can, you’ll improve it and know what to do about it once you know the issue. Or you can, plain and simple, hand over that data to an expert who will help you.
Essentially, you’ll be able to monitor how your nightly sleep is doing. And with that, you’re less likely to fall ill. Good sleep is essential for your immune system, and thus, you’ll have to visit the hospital less and less.
Detecting when you have Fallen
Yes, you heard it right. This device will be able to detect when you have fallen on the ground. At first, it senses how your limbs are moving and sensing the impact from the fall.
Then, after that, if it senses that you’re lying still for an extended period of time, 10 seconds in this case. It sends an alert message to the emergency contacts that you have set up beforehand. This is particularly a useful feature if you have some heart condition.
Cardiac issues like a heart attack can cause one to lose consciousness and fall. In that situation, too, you are safer with this Apple Watch on you than otherwise.
Even if that’s not the case, still if you slipped and fell, hurting your head in the process. Thus, you’re unconscious and maybe bleeding at the same time. With this feature, you’re more likely to make it out of that dire situation with someone coming to help you. Fall Detection is in its initial stage as a functional feature. Only time will tell how it fares.
The Bigger Picture…
There are ways in which this system is going to be even more powerful. And no, we aren’t referring to any kind of discovery here. What we’re talking about is already out in the market and thriving. Data analytics! This, when fully brought into the picture, is very soon going to be. It will change the game forever.
Say, for example, the heart conditions of an individual wearing the Apple Smartwatch Series 4. All the data that its records can be accessed and archived with their permission. Once medical professionals have that, it’ll be high-quality research data. An expert will be able to figure out a lot of different things from it.
Apple Inc. has set up an entire operation dedicated to the healthcare industry, with the Health mobile app and the HealthKit development platform. Due to the colossal number of iPhone users, mainly in the United States, gathering data would be fairly easy. Gathering data on diabetes and cardiac issues will be more efficient and accurate than ever before.
With that, getting a grip on these two killers of humankind will be all the easier. And also, knowledge being power, other health issues can be tackled with as well.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is at least three years ahead of time for innovation in health technology. It can essentially change our lives for the better and make us lead a fit and healthier life. Every year, Apple puts forward something new with the Watch series.
As of this moment, Apple Watch Series 4 does plenty with accurate predictions. Also, it can act as your personal caretaker when an emergency presents itself. Apple has nailed the wearable industry with its tight ecosystem and accessories.
With this particular product and the series of these Smartwatches, Apple has not only taken care of the aesthetic and convenience aspect. But they are much more pressing issues as well. With such an emphasis on serving the healthcare industry, we do have the chance for a healthier future.
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