You might have thought that the health & fitness labs Apple created to help develop the Apple Watch might have been closed once the product had launched, but a piece in Time reports that they are still operating 12 hours a day, six days a week.
I was recently able to visit one of Apple’s labs dedicated to sports and health. For 12 hours a day, six days a week, Apple brings in Apple employees of every shape, condition and ethnicity to do various exercises and monitor them with the most sophisticated medical systems available. Apple has seven full-time nurses in the facility I visited, using medical monitoring equipment that can determine all types of heath related data points.
ABC gave us a look inside one of the labs in the run-up to the launch of the Watch last year, when we learned that they include climate chambers which allow the company to simulate a wide range of different environments, but this latest report does include a new claim …
Analyst Tim Bajarin says that unnamed Apple execs on the Watch team told him that Steve Jobs experience of the healthcare system was a key motivation behind the development of the Watch.
I asked them to explain the real motivation for creating the device […] The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs developed pancreatic cancer in 2004. He then spent a great deal of time with doctors and the healthcare system until his death in 2011. While that personal health journey had a great impact on Jobs personally, it turns out that it affected Apple’s top management, too […]
It is within this backdrop that the Apple Watch was born. Apparently, Apple was looking at ways to deliver on Jobs’ goal of making their customers healthier by using technology to help monitor and track health related data points. It became clear to them that they would need some type of mobile device platform to do this. They concluded that a standard fitness tracker couldn’t do the types of things Jobs and current Apple executives really wanted to see. That’s how the Apple Watch came about.
While the story would carry more weight with quotes from named Apple execs, it’s certainly true that Apple has made health a major focus in the company in recent years. The Health app and associated HealthKit API launched in 2014; ResearchKit making its debut the following year; and CareKit joining the party this year.
Focus is now starting to turn to the Apple Watch 2, expected to launch later this year. One recent report suggested that it may feature built-in cellular connectivity, for greater independence from the iPhone, with more than a third of 9to5Mac readers describing this as an important motivator to buy. Zac Hall has expressed his views on what else he’d like to see, and why he thinks anyone in the market for the Watch should wait, while a Business Insider report has predicted that the Watch will represent 40% of the luxury watch category by 2020.