“And now……back to Tim”

Not much health tech news in Apple’s big product announcements yesterday – which is disappointing.

Image Credit: Apple, Inc.

Big day for hardware over at Apple HQ. But, for me, the event was pretty much a nothing burger. Sure, one graphic highlighted the use of an iPad with Guilford, Connecticut company Butterfly IQ’s handheld ultrasound system. But the only real health care focus centered around the new Apple Watch Version 7.

The Apple Watch Series 7 marks one of the most significant design changes in the smartwatch’s six-year history. The new Watch sports a re-engineered display that’s 20% larger than the Series 6 while “barely affecting” the watch’s size, courtesy of smaller bezels. While Apple Watch can already detect a fall on Series 4 or later devices, allowing users to contact emergency services if needed, Apple says that it will now add fall detection to cycling. In this case, it’s able to sense the unique motion and impact that occurs when someone falls when riding a bike — which is a different type of movement than someone who falls when standing. Here’s the Apple Watch Series 7 video from yesterday’s launch event.

My take – It seems clear that Apple is positioning the Watch as a health and fitness device (e.g., “The future of health is on your wrist.”) The video highlights various health functions, including ECG, fall detection, sleep metrics, blood oxygen level, and fitness apps like meditation and their Apple Fitness+ subscription service. Now, I’m sure they were pressed for time to cover everything they wanted to review (the event ran well over the usual one-hour time), but it certainly didn’t live up to Tim Cook’s statement that “Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind will be health.”

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