Apple needn’t fear over-regulation of Apple Watch health & fitness functionality, says FDA

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While health tech has to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the agency will be taking “an almost hands-off approach” to fitness-oriented wearables like the Apple Watch, says policy advisor Bakul Patel in an interview in Bloomberg.

“We are taking a very light touch, an almost hands-off approach,” Patel, the FDA’s associate director for digital health, said in an interview. “If you have technology that’s going to motivate a person to stay healthy, that’s not something we want to be engaged in.”

Patel said the FDA would be drawing a distinction between products whose health claims focused on fitness rather than diagnosis …  Read more

Apple’s sales overhaul for Apple Watch will focus on building trust, offering fashion views, upselling bands

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The job of Apple Retail Store employees will begin changing in profound ways next month. In order to showcase and sell the Apple Watch, retail employees will be trained to provide personal fashion and styling advice to customers, according to employees briefed on the plans. Until now, Apple Retail has been tasked with recommending iPads, iPhones and Macs with few styling options aside from limited color options.

Apple is pushing for retail employees to initiate conversations that build trust, enabling the employee to serve as a valued fashion advisor during the purchase process, similarly to how traditional watches are sold. Apple Watch sales training programs will take place for Apple retail staff over the course of the next two weeks, teaching entirely new sales techniques to encourage iPhone upgrades, assist with gifting, and guide customers in watch and strap choices.

Below, we detail how employees will provide fashion advice to customers and Apple’s multi-part plan for selling an Apple Watch.

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ResearchKit may go beyond individual studies, open up era of ‘open-source’ medical research

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We’ve already seen the potential of Apple’s ResearchKit platform to sign up large numbers of participants to medical studies in an incredibly short time, but a reported conversation between the founder of an open science non-profit and an Apple VP suggests that the potential goes far beyond this.

Fusion, in an extensive profile, reports that Apple may be intending to collect anonymised health data in a central database accessible to medical researchers around the world, enabling each to benefit from that shared data to forward their own studies. The vision was initially put forward at a conference back in September, long before ResearchKit was announced, by Stephen Friend, the founder of Seattle-based Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit that champions open science and data sharing.

“Imagine ten trials, several thousand patients. Here you have genetic information, and you have what drugs they took, how they did. Put that up in the cloud, and you have a place where people can go and query it, [where] they can make discoveries.” In this scenario, Friend said, patients would be able to control who could access their information, and for which purposes. But their health data would be effectively open-sourced.

Apple reportedly took an immediate interest in the idea …  Read more

Hands on with the first medical apps using ResearchKit

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As part of ResearchKit, Apple’s new foray into medical research, five brand new apps have been launched in conjunction with leading medical institutions that utilize the new capabilities of ResearchKit. These first apps cover the areas of asthma, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Below is a first look at some of the new application’s capabilities.

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News Hub: Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ Apple Watch event

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Today’s the day: Apple is holding its “Spring Forward” event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. This article contains the latest updates from the event in live blog style; all of our detailed individual stories from the event are now summarized at this link. The event officially began at 10 AM Pacific/ 1PM Eastern time, and our live coverage is below.

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Cook teases ‘ton’ of Apple Watch announcements, including Panera Bread, Salesforce enterprise & fitness apps

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In addition to discussing the international Apple Watch launch and accessibility efforts at a briefing in Germany, Apple CEO Tim Cook teased “a whole ton of announcements coming shortly about all of the apps coming” for the Apple Watch, according to employees in attendance. Cook first highlighted the use of the Apple Watch in hotels by saying that “some of the best hotels in the world” will allow Apple Watch users to use the wearable to unlock room doors.

Additionally, Cook said that the Apple Watch hotel applications will even be able to replace the check-in processes for some hotels. “So people are beginning to think about doing not only cool things with their apps, but how it changes their whole business,” Cook said. As highlighted at the first Apple Watch event in September 2014, Starwood Hotels has already announced that it is working with Apple on an app for the Apple Watch…

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WSJ: Apple struggled to find purpose for Apple Watch after many planned health features were cut, 5 million units ordered

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The Wall Street Journal revealed tonight that many of the planned health features that Apple intended to include in its first-generation wearable were cut from the final product.

Early reports on the progress of the device’s creation indicated that it would boast an array of sensors for measuring many different facets of a wearer’s health, but when Apple demoed the first unit last year, those sensors were nowhere to be found.

Some of those features, like the ability to track stress and blood pressure, were simply too complex to institute, or ran the risk of triggering government regulation that the company wanted to avoid. In other cases, sensor makers weren’t able to meet Apple’s standards (not an uncommon phenomenon).

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Nike+ FuelBand iPhone app adds HealthKit integration, no longer requires a band

Nike today released a long-awaited update to its FuelBand app for iPhone users with the fitness tracking FuelBand wearable adding support for sharing NikeFuel points with Apple’s Health app on iOS 8. The update also adds support for motion tracking right from the iPhone for iPhone 5s users and up and no longer requires a Nike FuelBand to use.

The new version uses HealthKit, a framework introduced with iOS 8, to let Nike’s FuelBand app share data easily and with your permission to Apple’s built-in Health app and other apps that integrate with HealthKit. NikeFuel, the fitness company’s metric for tracking movement throughout the day, is featured as a supported fitness metric in Apple’s own Health app. Read more

Apple Watch expected to support glucose monitor for diabetics from launch date

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Diabetics using a glucose monitor made by DexCom will be able to see a continuous graph of their blood sugar levels on the Apple Watch, says the company. It is working on an app for the smartwatch that is expected to be available when the Apple Watch launches in April – alongside a similar app for the iPhone.

DexCom’s glucose monitor tracks a person’s blood-sugar levels continuously. The [app] converts that data into a simple graph that is just a glance at the wrist away.

The WSJ reports that the early availability of the app has been made possible thanks to the Food and Drug Administration taking a more hands-off approach as of last month. While medical hardware still requires FDA approval before it can be sold, companion apps no longer need prior approval – developers simply have to notify the FDA that the app exists …  Read more

Roundup: Find all of 9to5Mac’s CES 2015 coverage in one place

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If you’ve somehow missed the overflow of coverage from CES 2015 last week, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. During the show we took a look at the latest devices and accessories that are expected to be released throughout 2015. The show was packed with new smartphones, home automation tools, cases, and some unexpected surprises. If you didn’t catch all of the coverage from the show, check out the roundup below with links to everything that we found interesting…

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Hands-on with Qardio’s lineup of connected health devices (Video)

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Technology is constantly improving the health management while providing ease and reliability. It’s no surprise that there are a lot of major players in this space, but Qardio has assembled a very unique lineup of connected devices that are sure to make an impact on technology-driven health sensors. Qardio was awesome enough to sponsor our CES 2015 coverage, which means we got the behind the scenes, insider look at the award-winning smartphone-connected accessory QardioArm and a couple of new products that will be launching this spring…

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Everyone’s favorite sadistic artificial intelligence is back to shame your diet with Carrot Hunger

You all remember Carrot, right? The sadistic, sarcastic artificial intelligence that powers a series of productivity and fitness applications? Well, Carrot’s back with a few new tricks up her sleeve (and possibly some deadly neurotoxin, but who knows?) in a brand new calorie-tracking app called Carrot Hunger.

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