Apple Watch now does ECG — but will an Apple a day really keep the doctor away?

The prognosis for Apple’s newest healthcare feature: controversy.

December 7, 2018

Apple rolled out its updated health app yesterday, offering a tool that enables American Apple customers to read electrical heart signals simply by pressing a finger against a smartwatch.

But with Apple’s future as a world-leading tech giant on the line, Apple may need heart monitoring more than its customers do.

Apple really wants your health data

Apple has been raising the prices on its hardware (which is still its bread and butter) for years. But the time will come when consumers won’t be willing to pay $6k for the iPhone 19Z.

This reliance on hardware is already a problem: After hitting a $1T market cap, Apple has lost more than $295B in value since August.

So Apple has already started to focus on services to wean itself off of hardware — and it seems to be pinning its hopes on health.

But do you really want Apple’s health services?

It’s clear why Apple wants to kick-start sales of its healthcare services. But doctors are divided on the usefulness of the watch.

Apple’s Watch is now FDA-approved to catch irregular heartbeats (a definite win for people who don’t know they have them), but some doctors think they could do more harm than good in the short term by causing misdiagnosis and anxiety.

But more importantly, this FDA approval opens the door for Apple to become what it calls an “intelligent health guardian” — a hardware company that also collects medically sensitive healthcare data.

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