by Jim Lynch

Why did Apple make the Apple Watch?

May 12, 2016
Consumer ElectronicsSmartwatchesWearables

What motivated Apple to create the Apple Watch? Contrary to what you might think, making money or entering the wearables category weren’t what propelled the creation of the Apple Watch.

I’ve owned an Apple Watch since it was first released, and I’ve found it to be a delightful and incredibly useful product. But I never stopped to wonder much about what exactly motivated Apple to create it in the first place.

Frankly, I had supposed that Apple just wanted to enter the wearables category. And, of course, that it wanted yet another hit product to increase the company’s profits. While those things certainly played a role to one degree or another, it turns out that Steve Jobs’ battle with cancer had a big impact on Apple.

Tim Bajarin reports for Time:

The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs developed pancreatic cancer in 2004. He then spent a great deal of time with doctors and the healthcare system until his death in 2011. While that personal health journey had a great impact on Jobs personally, it turns out that it affected Apple’s top management, too. During this time, Jobs discovered how disjointed the healthcare system can be. He took on the task of trying to bring some digital order to various aspects of the healthcare system, especially the connection between patients, their data, and their healthcare providers.

If you look at Apple’s current health initiatives, many are focused on helping people record data of all types and get it securely to their healthcare providers. Apple also has projects related to healthcare records, management and interaction between the doctor and patient with a goal of making the patient-doctor relationship more fruitful and less frustrating.

I have long been observing these key moves around healthcare, which accelerated after Jobs’ death. It seems clear that Apple’s management has now and will continue to have a major focus on bridging the gap between a person and their healthcare providers. I believe Apple is on a mission to improve the overall health of its customers as well as that of the healthcare system, a task Jobs gave them before he died. And while Apple’s products define Jobs’ legacy, it may turn out that his and Apple’s greatest contribution may be to bring greater order to the fragmented healthcare world.

It is within this backdrop that the Apple Watch was born. Apparently, Apple was looking at ways to deliver on Jobs’ goal of making their customers healthier by using technology to help monitor and track health related data points. It became clear to them that they would need some type of mobile device platform to do this. They concluded that a standard fitness tracker couldn’t do the types of things Jobs and current Apple executives really wanted to see. That’s how the Apple Watch came about.

More at Time

The fact that Steve Jobs’ experience with the medical system was a big motivator for Apple to create the Apple Watch as a health platform really surprised me. But the more I think about what the Apple Watch does for me, the more it all makes sense.

workouts apple watch

Oh sure, I use my Apple Watch for texting, phone calls, apps, games, etc. But I’ve found over time that one of the things I use it for frequently is fitness tracking.

My Apple Watch as a fitness tracker

When I got my Apple Watch, one of the first things I started using it for was fitness tracking. I use it to track the number of calories I consume each day, and I’ve found that it’s an extremely helpful tool in weight management.

Note that I’m in my 40s now, so it’s quite easy to put on weight quickly without even realizing it. So being able to quickly add calories right from my wrist is a big help to me in terms of managing my weight so I don’t become overweight.

I also use my Apple Watch to track calories for cardio workouts, walks, and when I lift weights. The watch does a pretty good job for walks and cardio workouts, but I am not sure how accurate it is for lifting weights. But I figure that even a ballpark figure of how many calories I’ve burned while lifting is a help to me.

activity apple watch

I also like the reminders to stand, and also the log of the number of steps I’ve taken each day. Closing the rings each day in the Activity app motivates me to get off my ass and away from my computer to do something physical.

Quite a while ago, before I got the Apple Watch, I considered buying a Fitbit or other activity tracker. But I decided to wait for the Apple Watch and I’m very glad I did. While other activity trackers might work well, I doubt I would wear them regularly. But that’s not a problem with my Apple Watch, I miss it if it’s not on my wrist.

The Apple Watch is off to a great start

I commend Apple for what it’s been able to achieve with the first generation Apple Watch. It’s already become such a useful tool for me and so many others for tracking our fitness and activity.

I’m really looking forward to see what improvements Apple makes in the second generation Apple Watch. Better fitness and health sensors, and improved software should go a long way toward making the next Apple Watch even better than the current one.

I think Steve Jobs would be very proud of Apple for creating the Apple Watch, it has already made a big difference in many people’s lives. Thanks, Apple!

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