In a recent interview, Tim Cook indicated that the company is “working on” health devices. The CEO of Apple has previously indicated that the company does not currently have a product designed to meet the needs of patients with diabetes, cardiac disease, or Alzheimer’s disease.
At the time of Cook’s comments, however, Apple was undergoing a bit of internal turmoil regarding the direction it was going in. Rumors have circulated that the company is in talks with healthcare providers to design and manufacture health-care related products.
While no formal agreement has been made, some employees have expressed their excitement about the possibilities. As the health care industry continues to grow, it is likely that Apple will continue to engage in this type of activity.
Apple may be designing and developing its own health hardware products
At present, there are many devices and medical equipment providers that have developed their own proprietary computer applications in the area of diagnostics and monitoring.
While there may be some concerns about proprietary software, given that software typically protects confidential information, Apple has yet to indicate that it would not sell its own products in the area.
Apple Designing and Developing Its Own Health Hardware
The possibility that Apple may be designing and developing its own device may help it differentiate itself from existing devices on the market. For instance, if it can produce a more intuitive and user-friendly system, it may be able to overcome some of the problems that users have had with other systems.
Apple’s current line of devices for diabetes and cardiovascular disease include the iPhone and the iPod Touch. These products are capable of collecting and storing data that medical professionals use in their daily practice.
However, these devices lack some of the additional features that may make them more attractive to patients who need customized service. For example, they are limited in terms of the data that they can capture and store. They also lack access to certain diagnostic tools that may be critical in assisting patients with their disease.
It’s unlikely that Apple will go into a major R&D effort to develop its own health device. Unlike some of its competitors, the company already controls a vast amount of resources.
If it decides to take on this project, it will likely seek to partner with an existing medical device company. For example, the Cleveland clinic has partnered with Apple for its own glucose monitor. In turn, the two companies may collaborate to develop an Apple Watch or other health-related device.
What’s more likely is that Apple will begin developing its own hardware products for selling on the market. Analysts have speculated that it may choose to partner with a company that makes hardware and software, while simultaneously selling its own iPhone and iPod Touch.
Apple’s current products have considerable market potential given that they are highly versatile. Moreover, the Mac operating system, as well as the developer tools that go along with it, are extremely popular among individuals who need specialized software for their medical practice.
Furthering speculation is the fact that a former Apple employee has indicated that the company’s focus may be on healthcare in particular. In recent years, Apple has made significant efforts to streamline its product line. It has also developed and released its own iBooks, as well as applications for the iPad and iPhone.
The company’s health hardware products are expected to carry a similar focus. With the rising number of people suffering from common chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity, as well as the need to address the issue of inefficiencies that stem from health care reform, it would not be surprising to see Apple begin developing its own line of products designed to help medical professionals and other consumers manage their health on a daily basis.
What’s more, Apple’s hardware business will likely be complementary to the company’s efforts on the mobile platform. The iPhone and iPad have become tremendously popular with consumers who want to stay in touch on the go. As medical technology evolves, these devices will need to incorporate new features that make them more useful.
Apple may find that its current product lines are ideal for this type of environment. If so, then it is only natural that the company’s next product lines will have a medical theme, possibly including hospital-grade equipment.
What is clear is that the company’s future products will have a medical theme. And given that Apple’s reputation for transparency is legendary, it is also not a surprise to learn that the company’s future products will also be open source, meaning that anyone can develop them.
This, in turn, could lead to greater competition in the health software market, as software developers look to create software applications that run on Apple hardware. Regardless of what form future Apple health hardware takes, it is clear that the company’s main focus is making its products as widely available as possible.
Its effort to move into the mobile health software market by developing its own hardware will likely increase its efforts to reach that same goal.
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