Someone posted a rant on FB about why companies like Apple insist on focusing their might on such trivial and non-essential products like the Watch that they just announced yesterday (9/9). There are two contexts this person is missing, IMHO.
First of all, when the economy takes a nose-dive and average disposable income drops significantly, you might as well be asking why cosmetics and gadgets targeting people’s egos takes less of a hit than things you might consider more significant to peoples’ basic survival instincts? Apple seems to thrive in such an environment. So what? Ego-driven marketing is a huge business.
A better question to ask is why our tax code isn’t fixed to encourage such companies to repatriate their off-shore profits and use those monies for things that benefit Americans here in America? I mean, who cares HOW those profits are being generated? The fact is, Apple is one of dozens of American companies who’ve produced an aggregate of several TRILLION dollars of profits sitting off-shore and doing nobody any good here at home.
As far as gadgets go, Apple’s Watch doesn’t strike me as that much of a Big Deal either.
Second, and more importantly, the Apple Watch represents the tip of a spear that we all SHOULD be paying attention to because it’s going to revolutionize how healthcare is managed in America. It’s those little sensors on the bottom that constantly monitor your vital signs. Combined with the new features they’re adding to iOS 8, we’re going to be seeing an onslaught of “personal medical devices” hit the market over the next few years.
Look, let’s face it, the medical industry here in America is broken. The incentives are biased heavily towards rectifying symptoms and almost totally ignoring their underlying problems. A huge part of that is because doctors get a teeny-weeny sliver of a glimpse into your health when you see them, and even if we’re inclined to be honest about things, our memory of stuff is horrible when it comes to relating meaningful events that they can address.
Personal medical devices based on things like the Apple Watch will be monitoring our vitals and other measures almost constantly, 24/7 if we let them. New technologies will step in and begin offering diagnoses with far more relevance and accuracy than doctors can today, based around on-going real-time measurements.
While everybody KNOWS what it takes to improve their health, we tend to trust “how we feel” above all else. If lifestyle changes aren’t perceptible in terms of “how we feel” in a few days, we assume they’re not working. But if we have access to a little piece of equipment that we wear constantly, like a watch, that can actually MEASURE things and TELL US stuff that we CANNOT “FEEL”, then we have something we can begin to trust and allow to guide us towards better health.
Doctors only want to push drugs, and they’ve been getting away with that because people want to see FAST RESULTS. These personal health devices will start to show us alternatives, and they won’t requires us to take expensive drugs and chemicals that more often than not have worse side-effects than the symptoms they’re targeted at reducing.
Besides, I think most diabetics, for example, would rather pay $350 one-time for a device that lets them monitor their blood sugar constantly and works in conjunction with software that coaches them on their eating habits than that much on a weekly or monthly basis for stuff they need to inject via hypodermic needles that isn’t doing anything to fix their problem.
Doctors can implore them to “eat better” all they want. But without someone or something sitting there 24/7 bugging them and giving them feedback on everything they put into their mouths, their behaviour isn’t likely to change. At least, that’s what we can observe so far.
Imagine sitting there eating something and your watch starts buzzing every minute as it detects your blood sugar levels going in the wrong direction. You can make a choice right then to stop eating. Or wait a bit and take another insulin shot when things get too far out-of-whack.
Eventually, in theory, it’s easier to stop eating now than endure the almost certain pain of an insulin injection a little later. It’s a simple trade-off. This is the sort of feedback devices like this will offer people that aren’t available today.