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Most anticipated health wearable lands shortly

Published on 13/04/15 at 01:19pm
Apple watch
The most closely-watched outcome from a life sciences perspective amongst the Watch feedback will be Apple’s ResearchKit platform

Consumers can order Apple’s eagerly anticipated watch now as the industry waits to see just what impact it could have upon healthcare following some mixed reviews in the media. 

Landing on 24 April there is not likely to be large queues outside of Apple stores on this occasion, as is now familiar with releases from the US tech giant – not because its latest product is not desirable – but because people will be able to order and receive it sooner online instead.

You will be able to try on devices in store, but will be directed to kiosks or the Apple website to order its smartwatch. Those looking to get one in the US will be able to but will be discouraged from doing so when buying online. 

Whilst it is too early to tell what the release will mean for pharma and the healthcare industry, chiefly due to the fact that there are to be only a handful of working apps on its arrival, this has not stopped the media from picking the watch apart to sieve through the good and bad thus far.

Reactions have been predictably varied and comprise entries such as it being “The best smartwatch on the market”, called “a funny, odd bulbous thing” along with conclusions that “you just don’t need one”.

A Business Insider reviewer notes: “As I watched the demo, it strikes me exactly like how I decided to buy an iPhone. No single thing convinced me. It was a bunch of little stuff, all added up."

However with slightly less enthusiasm, economist Joseph Brusuelas posted on Twitter: “The Apple watch has the feel of Steve Jobs' Lisa [computer]. It's ill conceived, ill considered and likely to go the way of Google Glass.”

This comparison is interesting as Google’s eye wearable offering was also touted to introduce a change of direction for the healthcare industry but which failed to materialise, and whilst ahead of its time the device also arrived with few apps and the company stopped selling it this January.

But Americans at least are ready and willing to leverage health apps and wearable devices in order to improve their personal health according to a recent new study. 

Findings from a Makovsky/Kelton ‘Pulse of Online Health’ survey showed around two-thirds of them are ready for such a device to aid health-related issues, and also revealed that consumers are even willing to disclose online personal data if it leads to improved treatment choices.

The most closely-watched outcome from a life sciences perspective amongst the Watch feedback will be the Apple’s ResearchKit offering, which is set to allow its apps to be used in medical research.

As an open-source health tool, Apple says ResearchKit lets people take tests like detecting vocal variations, walking in a line, or tapping in rhythm to test for Parkinson’s disease for example.

To do well in the healthcare setting the Apple Watch must be seen to perform and be adopted as a general product first one would think, so it may be a little while until we see if they are to be distributed to patients in any clinical trials. 

Brett Wells

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