What it is: While testing wearable sensors, Stanford geneticist Michael Snyder identified a disease in its early stages.
When Apple first introduced the iPhone, many people dismissed it. Then the iPhone went on to change the smartphone market. When Apple introduced the iPad, many people dismissed it. Then the iPad went on to change the tablet market that Tablet PCs had tried to create for over a decade. When Apple introduced the Apple Watch, many people dismissed it. Yet already the Apple Watch has helped define the wearable computer market and promises to continue doing more.
Most people can understand the purpose and need for an iPhone while others may see less of a need for an iPad. Still many more people don’t understand the purpose of the Apple Watch, which is real-time health monitoring. Fitness enthusiasts understand wearable computers as a way to track their progress, but ordinary people can use wearable computers to track their health in real-time.
Stanford geneticist Michael Snyder was testing various wearable sensors when those sensors detected a drop in blood oxygen levels and an increase in heart rate. The levels didn’t return to normal and shortly afterward, Snyder developed a fever and other signs of illness.
Based on the readings from the wearable sensors, Snyder suspected that he might have been infected with Lyme disease due to a tick bite and that turned out to be the case. Wearable sensors can detect early signs of health irregularities long before patients may notice them. That means wearable computers could become useful for detecting health problems early before they become major problems.
Health insurance companies could save bundles of cash by lowering premiums for people willing to wear wearable computers and submit that data regularly to search for early health problems. Such early detection could save lives and allow health insurance companies to pay for early treatment, thereby saving money by avoiding more expensive treatments later on.
The real potential of the Apple Watch isn’t another gag app or even a productivity app. Instead, the Apple Watch is about turning wearable computers into a common and ordinary occurrence. If you want better health, it could be as simple as strapping on an Apple Watch everyday.