Apple unveiled menstrual cycle tracking and health hearing apps, among other health-related updates, at the company’s annual developers conference on Monday.
Called “cycle tracking,” women can log their symptoms, receive notifications when their periods are about to begin and receive a fertility window prediction, Apple Vice President of Health Sumbul Desai said. The app will be available on Apple’s Watch and iPhone.
“We are so excited to bring more focus to this incredibly important aspect of women’s health,” she said.
Apple has made health one of its top priorities, with CEO Tim Cook telling CNBC’s Jim Cramer in January that Apple is focused on “democratizing” health care and he thinks health care will be “Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind.” The company’s commitment showed Monday at its annual event highlighting software updates.
Apple also introduced a hearing health app for the Watch. Called “noise,” the app uses Watch’s microphone to detect decibel levels and warn people if it’s reached a level that could harm their hearing over time, Desai said.
“Since hearing loss is often so gradual, it’s important to know when the sounds around you are loud enough to impact your hearing, like when you’re in the middle of a construction zone, at a sporting event or playing your music really loud to drown out your singing voice,” she said.
She added the app will not record or save the audio, one of the frequent nods to data privacy as Apple’s tech competitors face scrutiny over their data practices.
The Watch will also record people’s activity trends, helping them see whether they’re becoming more or less active and pushing them to “get back on track” if they start slipping, Desai said.
“Activity trends will provide you with a more complete picture of what you can do to stay active and even more importantly, give you the motivation you need for long-term success,” she said.
Apple’s iPhone Health app will receive a makeover in the software update, Kevin Lynch, Apple’s Vice President of Technology, announced Monday. The new app will display a summary of health-related notifications, favorites and auto-generated highlights for people to track their health data over time.
For example, people can see how consistently they moved and how their heart rate changed after workouts. Lynch said the app uses machine learning to determine what’s important to users.
“Since there’s nothing more private than your health information, you control your data,” he said.
“You can decide whether you want to share your health data with selected apps if you’d like to share anything at all.”
Apple has bolstered its health efforts, hiring obstetrician Dr. Christine Curry to look into how Apple can advance women’s health, among other projects, CNBC reported in February. Curry joined the dozens of doctors Apple has hired to work on health projects.
Last year, Apple rolled out a feature for people to store their medical records on their iPhones, letting them to access data that can be difficult to see and frustrating to transfer. The company also added an electrocardiogram to its Apple Watch, allowing consumers to track their heart activity and possibly catch irregularities.
Date: June 12, 2019