Apple today unveiled the Apple Research app for iPhone and Apple Watch users interested in sharing their health data, along with a series of studies with major health research organizations.
Apple also unveiled iPhone 11, Apple Watch Series 5, 7th generation iPad, game subscription service Arcade, and Apple TV+. The news was announced today in a presentation at Steve Jobs Theater at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.
Studies introduced today include:
- Apple Hearing Study to analyze the impact of extreme sound on long-term hearing health. The study will be compiled with the University of Michigan and World Health Organization.
- Apple Women’s Health Study to examine how menstrual cycles can inform afflictions like infertility and osteoporosis. The study will be conducted with the Harvard School of Public Health and National Institutes of Health.
- Apple Heart and Movement Study for tracking warning signs for heart health and ways to improve overall health. Study participants include the American Heart Association and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The Apple Research app will be available for download later this year. Apple will be unable to access data that directly identifies users who share their health data for research, Apple VP of Health Dr. Sumbul Desai said onstage today.
The first of its kind Apple Heart Study launched in 2017 for tracking irregular heartbeats and included more than 400,000 people.
Extending beyond steps or heart rate tracking and into personal health has been a key part of the Apple Watch value proposition and a selling point to maintain dominance over high-end smart watch competitors like Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and Fitbit Versa 2.
To give people the power to better track their own health, in June Apple introduced a series of changes, including watchOS 6 and a refreshed Health app in iOS 13.
The updated Health app for iOS 13 and watchOS6 uses machine learning to surface insights about a person’s health and is now made to monitor environmental noise levels alongside health indicators like daily steps, heart rate, and sleep levels.
Cycle Tracking was also introduced in June for women to follow their menstrual cycles and know when they’re ovulating.
Apple launched its electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring app for Apple Watch to track heart health in December 2018. Apple Watch Series 4 also introduced elevated heart rate detection and fall detection for older users.
To attract more Apple devotees, Google launched a standalone Google Fit app in April with Apple Watch support.
Apple’s health team recently saw a string of departures reportedly due to a lack of ambition to tackle larger health problems in favor of features for a general population of users.