Apple, WWDC and Health
Next month I’ll be in London for one of the Monty Python reunion shows. In their 1983 movie, The Meaning of Life, Michael Palin played an condescending hospital manager who wanted to make sure everyone appreciated the machine that he had bought, the one “that goes ping”. The joke was based on the notion that hospitals-know-best and that technology was one way that healthcare can assert its power over patients.
31 years later and the iPhone in my pocket outstips any machine the hospital has that goes ping. For instance, the computers in my hospital run Windows XP Professional, an operating system from 2002. Meanwhile yesterday, Apple announced Health, an app that will come as standard in iOS 8, the next revision of Apple’s mobile iPhone/iPad operating system. It’s not the do-everything, life-saving app that some people will have been expecting, but it’s a subtle statement of intent and when taken into consideration with Apple’s announcement HomeKit and SDK extensibility yesterday, there’s a smart long game ahead.
Let’s break down what all that means:
The first in an occasional series about apps and software I use
Three years ago I ditched my laptop and committed to the iPad full time. It wasn’t initially planned that way: My trusty 2006 MacBook was kept charged and ready just in case. But it went unused for days, then weeks, then months and went from being trusty to dusty.
Why is Apple buying Beats? Opinion #31247
(This post has nothing to do with medicine.)
I’m an Apple customer for many years. I’m also one of those fans who happily watches all the keynote presentations and follows the popular Apple news and rumour websites.
So like many, I was perplexed by the news that it seems Apple will be buying Beats for $3.2 billion in the next week or so. Why would they do that? Beats headphones are divisive in that you either think they are (a) a worthy expense which marks you out as a discerning audiophile and fashionista or (b) an idiot tax on people who put style over substance. Interestingly a lot of people also think (b) applies to Apple fanboys like me, and yet somehow it seems from the online discourse that Apple fans and Beats fans are mutually exclusive.
So why would Apple buy Beats?
A small anecdote…
This morning, an SHO presented a patient who had recently traveled to the Far East and had come back with some non-specific symptoms.
I regularly have to look at CVs for new doctors looking to work in the hospital. In many of them, the candidates point out that they are “proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.”
Well done! That’s great! However, in this day and age, claiming in a CV that you can use Microsoft Office is equivalent to saying you can set a video recorder. There was a time when it was impressive, it’s not impressive anymore.
Apple have been acquiring people with expertise in medical devices recently. The latest one is a specialist in pulse oximetry. What could it all mean..?
EDIT 1/2/14: More rumours of a “Healthbook” app being developed by Apple.
It is CES – the Consumer Electronics Show – this week in Las Vegas. It’s the week when gadget makers show what they have in store for 2014.
Gorilla Glass, the makers of the toughened, scratch-resistant glass found on iPhones, have announced a new version of their glass with an anti-microbial layer which lasts for the life of the screen.
Meanwhile, Apple, who almost never announce anything in advance, are rumoured to be working on a 12 inch iPad for professionals and business.
Are you ahead of me here..?