Apple and Wearables

Apple had WWDC this week, and while WWDC is normally pretty eventful, this one was incredibly action packed.  From a redesign of OS X to a new programming language called Swift, there was something to delight everyone.  But if you want to read about that, you can find articles to your heart's content all over the web. What I'm more interested in is HealthKit (Apple's HealthKit, not these poor unfortunate soul's HealthKit), and with it a new push in advertising from Apple.

HealthKit is aiming to be a one-stop shop for a holistic look at your well-being

To summarize what HealthKit is, it allows you to collect in one place various pieces of information about your health.  From body stats, calories burned or eaten, blood sugar levels and blood pressure, to a place to store your medical records, HealthKit is aiming to be a one-stop shop for a holistic look at your well-being.

Along with the announcement of HealthKit, Apple put out a new marketing push which focuses on a healthy you, and how an iOS device can help you get there.  It urges folks to "shed the chicken fat" and get out and get active.  The whole ad is people doing stuff that looks healthy, even going so far as to show someone on a scale checking their weight on their iPhone and making a frowny face as they note that there weight is up.

Apple will aim to collect all of your health data into one place

Now, in the ad, Apple shows a bunch of apps that help track your health, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a @pmarca vision of the future to realize that with iOS 8, Apple will aim to collect all of your health data into one place:  HealthKit.  They even rolled out the features that will make it super easy to do, which are the new extensions and services.

Which leads to the question of when, not if, Apple will roll out their wearable, and what it will be?  You can certainly bank on it being a health device.  Apple wouldn't lay this much ground-work to not leverage it in some serious way.  You can also look at the tighter partnership with Nike, progenitor of the wildly successful and now defunct Fuel Band, to point to how they're going to enter that field.

But, I have to wonder at the timing.  Especially in light of Vlad Savov's recent post on wearables and calorie counting on The Verge, wherein he details that the field of health tracking devices are notoriously unreliable.  To summarize, none of these devices are terribly accurate, and when combined with the human proclivity to poorly estimate when it comes to counting calories, there's not a lot of reliability here.

If there's one thing Apple is well-known for, it's waiting to get it right

If there's one thing Apple is well-known for, it's waiting to get it right, and while my expectation is that Apple will release something this year, I wouldn't be surprised if they had a multi-staged rollout plan over a couple of years as they work to get it all exactly right.

So, when the iWatch, or whatever they'll call it, comes out this year, don't expect full functionality from the get-go.  It will do everything it needs to do now, but there will be a whole lot of unlocked potential in it that Apple will likely roll out in the coming year(s).