The Health Care Sector is Estimated to being worth $3.5 Trillion and Apple knows that there's a lot of room for Growth
On Thursday Patently Apple posted a report titled "Samsung has introduced a new Health App introducing Blood Pressure Measuring for Galaxy Watch Active2 in Korea," in an attempt to beat Apple to market with this key new health feature for their watch. In May Samsung introduced their version of the ECG app on their watch as well. We ended our report stating that "Apple is holding their WWDC20 this coming Monday and perhaps they'll introduce us to new features coming to Apple Watch 6. If not, it'll be interesting to see if measuring blood pressure makes it to market later this year on Apple Watch.
On Saturday Bloomberg reported that Apple is likely to introduce a new sleep tracking app for Apple Watch. We added a little color to that project by noting that while Apple acquired Beddit in 2017, the company has been patenting new features like 'smart bedding' including 'smart sheets' and more to monitor vital signs while the user sleeps since 2018. Apple also acquired a patent in 2019 covering the monitoring and managing of chronic medical conditions while sleeping. Patently Apple posted a report in early February 2019 titled "Apple's work with Smart Bedding Systems is ongoing and it may Lead to a Specific Sleep Tracking App for Apple Watch."
So while Apple may introduce a sleep tracking app on Monday, it's only the beginning of where they may be going in this market segment. Samsung is also planning to deliver a sleep tracking app in the not-too-distant future, so the race is on for this market segment.
Last night, CNBC's medical reporter Christina Farr posted a report on Apple has a lot of room to grow in the $3.5 trillion health care sector.
Farr reported that "Apple has grand ambitions to move into the health care field." On World Heart Day 2019 Patently Apple reported that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook commented on the importance of health to the company. In a statement that has been widely quoted, he said, "I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind?', it will be about health."
Farr added that "In the last five years or so, the company has built up a big internal team staffed with doctors, health coaches, and engineers. It has developed health-focused software and hardware, and even started medical clinics for its own employees.
But with a concrete strategy and a biomedical breakthrough, such as non-invasive blood pressure [like what Samsung has done] or blood sugar monitoring, it could do a lot more. Ahead of its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) next week, here’s what people in the health and technology sector think of where Apple needs to go next."
Eyeing Possible Bigger Bets
Looking ahead, Farr added that "Apple has already announced partnerships with insurers, like Aetna, where users can 'earn off' the cost of a device by engaging in healthy behaviors. It’s also talking to some private Medicare plans about subsidizing the cost of the device for seniors.
Another game-changer area would be to see Apple introduce more sophisticated sensors, including non-invasive glucose or blood sugar monitoring or a blood-pressure monitor. At that point, its device could reach a much bigger market -- 6 in 10 Americans - with one or more chronic diseases, as well as prevention. More than 1 in 3 Americans, for instance, are at high risk for type 2 diabetes."
Henrik Berggren, founder of a diabetes-focused virtual medical clinic called 'Steady Health' told Farr that "If they would ever came out with a blood sugar or blood pressure monitor that was non-invasive and continuous, it would be a complete game changer. That’s what we dream about for the watch."
Other experts suggested the following areas where Apple should go next:
Better sleep tracking: Dr. Calvin Wu, an endocrinologist with Steady Health stated that "I'd love to see more in that direction. They’re just scratching the surface on sleep."
Telemedicine: New York-based cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Wessler stated for the report that he "believes that there needs to be an intermediary layer that helps triage patients. Instead of rushing to the emergency room or to a specialist, Apple could direct patients to an online visit and even offer its own video-based online medicine service."
More focus on seniors: Apple now has a fall-detection feature and many of its heart health features are useful to seniors, but it could do more to make its devices more accessible to older groups.
More health features in AirPods: For Bajarin from Creative Strategies, more technology in AirPods Pro is an obvious move. "It’s easier to measure some vitals from the ear, which could make it a powerful health-focused wearable." Taking one's temperature quickly everyday would be great during COVID-19. For more on this story, read the full CNBC report.
Below you'll find some of Apple's Intellectual Property that we've reported on in the last 18 months that illustrates some of the areas that Apple's R&D teams have been working on for the future.
01: Apple Considers entering the Fitness Band market & reveals how the Apple Watch body could be made much Thinner
02: Apple won 62 patents today covering … a Future Health/VR Gaming Glove for monitoring blood pressure. One of the patent figures is noted above.
03: Apple Advances the Apple Watch 'Fall Detection' System to include ECG info that could be sent to Emergency Services & more
04 Apple Reveals a Possible Future Health app for Apple Watch and an MR Headset to Assist those with Parkinson's Disease
05: Apple to Advance Apple Watch to Cover Health Monitoring Systems Designed for Skiers
06: Apple Updates 'AirPods' Trademark to cover Wellness Sensors & more
07: Apple files Patents for Future iPhones with Gas Sensors & 5G Millimeter Wave Antennas for Apple Watch.