The first Apple Watch was supposed to come with blood sugar monitoring; The battle for health inside Apple

A new report based on interviews with insiders says the very first Apple Watch was originally supposed to come with non-invasive level monitoring blood sugar monitoring. Indeed, the report says, that should have been the device's headline.

The article also reveals divisions within the company over how far the company's healthcare ambitions should go, with some criticizing it for aimed at “anxious healthy people.” “, not those who need medical technology most…

Bloomberg spoke with both Apple insiders and commentators to get the picture the gap between its ambitions and what it has achieved so far.

But more importantly, it also reveals significant disagreement among the company's management about what those ambitions should be.

It starts with the story of the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015. To many of us, it seemed like Apple didn't initially know what problem this watch was intended to solve: the company initially focused on wrist notifications as its main sales product. moment before later adopting health and fitness as a major benefit. But the article says that health was always the goal—the company just couldn't achieve its goals with the first model.

Tim Cook stood in the same packed room where his predecessor Jobs unveiled the original Macintosh and unveiled the Apple Watch. Cook called it “the next chapter in Apple's history.” The new device boasted health features such as a heart rate monitor, a way to measure steps taken and calories burned, and a fitness app to track workouts. But the original vision was grander. The company envisioned the watch as a tiny medical laboratory, the centerpiece of which would be the Avolonte glucose monitor.

Avolonte was a subsidiary that Apple had secretly created four years earlier specifically to work on non-invasive glucose monitoring .

Disappointment over this failure caused Apple executives to abandon their ambitions, the article claims.

The company's efforts to include health monitoring and disease prevention in its best-selling products led to breakthroughs, but the strategy was also undermined by philosophical differences, cultural conservatism, and technological realities. Apple has shut down or slowed down work on a wide range of promising projects, upsetting some of the doctors and engineers it hired to work on them.

Instead of trying to help people who are sick, such as those with have diabetes, Apple has focused its efforts on the “well-concerned”—those who don't have any serious health problems but who have concerns that trigger interest in health monitoring technologies.

Best comment from the5krunner

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“Tim and Jeff are so afraid of doing something wrong” , to be fair, this is probably the attitude many tech companies should have, including those who allow terrible video content to spread.

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Although the company is still working on implementing blood sugar and blood pressure monitoring pressure in the Apple Watch, the goal is now less ambitious. Instead of providing precise measurements that would be useful for people with health problems, its goal now is simply to identify trends that can be used to suggest that someone undergo proper medical examinations.

This is partly due to fear of regulation, of the course. Medical technologies can take years to gain approval, and Apple doesn't want that to hold back the development of its products. But one insider says it's also due to fear of failure.

“Tim and Jeff are so afraid of doing something wrong and are focused on protecting the company's image . ” one person said, referring to Cook and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, who is in charge of the company's health care.

An outside health executive says that if Apple wants health care to be its most significant contribution to the world (as CEO Tim Cook argues), it must be prepared to solve these problems.

“The key takeaway from their whole strategy is that they are shying away from real help,” said Adrian Aoun, founder and CEO of Forward, a company that operates a network of high-tech in-person and remote services. clinics. Apple creates “amazing technology” but they are “working around the problem,” he said. “Health care is a mess and you have to get your hands dirty,” he said. “At some point you have to be prepared to shed blood.”

The whole article is worth reading, but unfortunately it is not free, so there are other interesting parts:

  • Insiders say Avolonte was the company's most secretive initiative.
  • Employees did not know who owned the company when they were interviewed.
  • They were banned from wearing Apple clothing in office
  • The heart rate sensor in the Apple Watch S1 wasn't good enough to actually advertise.
  • Jony Ive developed a blood pressure sensor that didn't need to be inflated.
  • But it was only accurate enough for trends, not specific measurements.
  • Apple was considering making a number of health devices, including scales.
  • The Apple Watch was designed to be compatible with Android
  • But the company abandoned this plan, fearing loss of iPhone sales.
  • In 2024, AirPods will function as hearing aids.
  • And will be able to conduct hearing tests.
  • In 2024, Apple Watch will be able to detect signs of sleep apnea.
  • The Apple Watch temperature sensor will be able to detect fever in the future.

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