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With the Coming of the Apple Watch, Digital Monitoring is the Next Big Thing

I rather dismissed the Apple Watch* as something I had no desire for, at least in terms of time, tweets and such, but what really intrigues me now is its potential to radically change the “personal health metrics” game.

* 'Watch' is such a closed way to describe a device worn on the wrist which might be chosen for 1000 other reasons than just telling the time.

In my view, the Apple 'Watch' goes far beyond the iPhone in potential, because it’s an entirely new category applicable to nearly 100% of the population. It’s not a watch (though it can tell time surely), but rather a personal digital monitor even though at its debut it will likely be deemed a communications device. But the revolution will come not in duplicating what an iPhone can do, but in in opening up an entirely new playing field (personal digital monitoring).

Consider for example being able to monitor and continuously record blood sugar, sleep rhythms, heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen levels, blood alcohol, control of medical implants, all that stuff and more than can hardly be envisioned (sensors required for some of that). These are not just medical applications, but intriguing for sports use training and racing, for monitoring status of pilots and truck drivers and soldiers, and so on. And that’s just for starters. It’s a product that has far more meat to its reason for existence than an iPhone, because it spans every aspect of life, not just communications, and grandma or little Joey might have to have one (medically) unlike an iMac or iPhone. And it can be worn on the wrist.

So the Apple Watch intrigues me for its data recording and monitoring capabilities (albeit with some sensors required)—not at all for its communications aspects (mail, tweets, web, etc, though for some those things will clearly be a huge plus). It would be nifty if it supported wireless ANT heart rate, power, speed, cadence right out of the box, for cyclists and other sports.

I could see using the Apple Watch far more than my iPhone, if it were done right. I could see buying more than one if done really right, and configuring each for different things: customizing and “locking down” the Watch to as few as one specific function could be important to grow its market acceptance in dozens of smaller but not small market areas.

Hacking and personal data concerns are going to plumb interesting new crossover areas in the law.

On health

Some recent health-related posts on my cycling site:

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