“If all things were fair, I don’t think you could ever get much in the way of personal user experience on your iPhone or your iPad.”
There are few big surprises in Apple’s latest iOS update. The biggest surprise is that the iPhone and iPad continue to be dominated by the familiar black and white slabs. However, the biggest surprise of all is the health app released this week.
Apple’s Health app has been one of the company’s most visible offerings for quite some time now. To date, it has spawned one of the most successful health apps on the planet, and it can be downloaded from the Apple store for free. The app organizes users’ fitness tracking in one convenient location. To do this, it encourages users to use some iPhone/iPad analytics software such as Nike+, and other apps to access more information.
But its integration into the Apple ecosystem (and more broadly within the mobile ecosystem) has been lacking. For instance, there has been no native activity tracker in the iPhone yet, and the MyFitnessPal web app has been the only one with this functionality. MyFitnessPal may be the best workout tracker available, but it was never designed to take care of blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, nutrition data, etc.
While the company’s Health apps are far from perfect, they are moving into the “personalization” arena in a big way. Indeed, the company is venturing into some health data territory which at the very least gives Apple users a much better view of their daily health. While the settings are still mostly cosmetic, the ability to control your iPhone’s heart rate with Apple’s smartwatch is a big deal.
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The beta version of iOS 15 also has some great new features in the Health app. Users can now log sleep and track their pulse, diet and other activities throughout the day. This is much deeper information than we’ve seen in the past, and it could lead to a significant addition of numbers. You can literally add more information to the Health app by adding calories and exercise information from Fitbit or another similar wearable app.
I have some trepidation around the possibility of that information feeding into Apple’s broader HealthKit ecosystem. The company has done a good job of mitigating this privacy concern, but without putting some strict rules in place it’s not clear how easy it will be to make this information private.
Apple’s Health app isn’t perfect. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more efficient health measurement data collection in 2019. For that reason, I think it may well be the sleeper hit of the iOS 15 update.
Nathan Bernoff, a founding partner at the data consulting firm Forrester Research, is an experienced marketer and technology evangelist, with over 30 years of business and technology experience. He is a regular guest on NBC News’s Today Show and also contributes to Fox News Opinion.