What it is: The latest Apple Watch offers electrocardiogram, which is new for a consumer product.
When the Apple Watch first appeared, people wondered why they would need one. After all, an iPhone worked just fine and the Apple Watch offered a much smaller screen. While the iPhone and iPad App Store had taken off in popularity, the App Store for the Apple Watch remains more or less stagnant. Most people don’t use an Apple Watch for anything but brief glances, so constant interactivity is fairly useless on an Apple Watch.
Yet the biggest strength of the Apple Watch is its ability to monitor health symptoms in real-time passively. Once you strap an Apple Watch on, it keeps recording your health data, which is why adding an electrocardiogram is a huge feature.
Users can put their finger on the digital crown as the Apple Watch passes a current across the chest to track electrical signals in the heart, directly, which is far more accurate than interpreting based on pulse. The process takes about 30 seconds and the user will receive a heart rhythm classification. Normal rhythms will be classified as “sinus” rhythm, and the Watch will also classify irregular rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation.
While this may not be as accurate as a dedicated machine, this feature in the Apple Watch can detect possible heart irregularities early. The early a problem is detected, the sooner the person can get medical attention, thereby saving lives. Previous versions of the Apple Watch have already saved numerous lives and now this latest feature can potentially save many more.
While young people have traditionally been the market for new technology, the Apple Watch is unique in that is targets older people. The newest Apple Watch can detect when a person falls and then contact emergency services automatically if the person doesn’t get up. This will likely cause many young people to buy one for their elderly parents. Now the real trick is getting these elderly people to wear the Apple Watch regularly.
The Apple Watch is mostly a self-contained unit, unlike the iPhone and iPad. The Apple Watch App Store will likely remain small compared to the iPhone and iPad App Store, but that’s because the products target two different uses. The iPhone and iPad is great for interaction on the go. The Apple Watch is far better for brief glances and constant health monitoring, which neither the iPhone or iPad can do easily.
As long as Apple continues pursuing health benefits with the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch has the potential to become a huge product that could dwarf the iPhone. Not everyone needs an iPhone, but everyone is concerned about their health, especially the elderly. Since the world is aging in many countries, the Apple Watch will continue growing as well. The future isn’t just mobile, but wearable computers, and the leader in wearables will be the Apple Watch.