Health November 10

AAPL: 116.77

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In a wide-ranging interview with the Telegraph, Apple CEO Tim Cook has hinted that the company may launch more health-focused products in future – but will keep those separate from the Apple Watch. The reason, he says, is that the FDA approval needed for full-on health devices would slow down the pace of innovation of the Watch.

Cook hints that Apple may have more plans for the health sphere, in a revelation which will intrigue Wall Street, but he doesn’t want the watch itself to become a regulated, government-licensed health product. “We don’t want to put the watch through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. I wouldn’t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it — maybe an app, maybe something else.” 

This represents a significant change from expectations …

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Health November 5

AAPL: 120.92

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Health November 3

AAPL: 122.57

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Health October 22

AAPL: 115.50

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Health October 16

AAPL: 111.04

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AliveCor, maker of the iPhone-compatible Mobile ECG cardiac monitoring accessory (reviewed here), has unveiled a new Apple Watch version that can be worn as a wrist band. The tentatively-titled Apple Watch ECG goes beyond the heart rate sensor built into the Apple Watch, adding a two-electrode electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor directly into a flexible wristband similar in appearance to Apple’s Sport Band.

Combined with a native watchOS 2 app, the Apple Watch ECG can graph the wearer’s heart beat over extended periods of time, as well as recording heart activity and voice annotations (“I feel like my heart just skipped a beat”) simultaneously, a feature not found on the iPhone version. Additionally, thanks to the new accessory’s guaranteed position on the wrist, it “may be able to detect an upcoming event using continuous monitoring,” AliveCor notes. Like the iPhone version, AliveCor’s Apple Watch app will also be able to send annotated ECG readings directly to a technician or doctor for interpretation.

Rather than connecting to the Apple Watch using Bluetooth or the Watch’s hidden data port, Apple Watch ECG uses the same ultrasonic technology as the iPhone accessory, leveraging the Watch’s microphone to receive ECG data transmissions. This reduces the battery-powered accessory’s power consumption by 92% versus Bluetooth, while offering superior data bandwidth. Pending FDA approval, the Apple Watch ECG is currently planned for a 2016 release, and expected to sell for around $199. A video of the new wristband accessory in action is below…

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Health October 9

AAPL: 112.12

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Health accessories for iPhones, iPads, and iPods have become more numerous and diverse over the years, evolving from Apple’s early Nike+ run sensors to heart rate monitors, increasingly complex Wi-Fi scales with body fat and ambient room sensors, blood pressure cuff docks… and even Bluetooth toothbrushes. Some health accessories are undeniably useful, but others raise the question “why?” — why pay more to see my weight on an iPhone rather than the scale’s built-in screen? Why track daily tooth brushing, body fat percentages, or the humidity of one’s bathroom? People survived for thousands of years without charting every seemingly minor blip on their personal radars.

My perspective changed last month when my wife was diagnosed with a serious cardiac condition. One of those “seemingly minor blips” that can now be constantly monitored is your heartbeat, and when something’s wrong with your heart, advance knowledge literally makes the difference between living or dying. As it turns out, a San Francisco-based company named AliveCor is now on its third-generation version of an iPhone accessory that helps people with cardiac conditions. The AliveCor Mobile ECG ($75) is an FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that can record and share your heartbeat directly from your iPhone. Measuring roughly 3.2″ by 1.3″ by 0.2″, Mobile EGC can self-attach to your iPhone’s back, or integrate with a bundled custom iPhone 6/6s case for only $80 (there’s an iPhone 5/5s case, too). Given my family’s sudden need for quick access to ECG data, keeping it with an iPhone makes sense, as this is an accessory we’ll want to have on hand whenever it may be needed…

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