On Monday, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2023) kicked off with a keynote address by CEO Tim Cook that caused a stir in the tech industry. Among the major revelations were the introduction of Vision Pro, Apple’s latest AR/VR headset; a 15.3-inch MacBook Air; and the new M2 Ultra silicon chip, which made headlines.
Another consideration that some may have overlooked is Apple’s commitment to health and wellness, which is reflected in new features and apps designed to keep users safe and healthy.
From protecting our eyes to improving mental well-being, let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from this year’s WWDC 2023.
The Health app is now available for iPadOS
Health, Apple’s popular app launched in 2014 to help iPhone users centralize their health information, is now available on iPad for the first time with iPadOS 17.
The application is designed to take advantage of the iPad’s larger screen and display health information in one image. Now with synchronized health data, the user can track their health data from their iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch, as well as compatibility with third-party applications and devices.
Health allows users to track activity, track medications, and view trends and highlights through detailed interactive graphs. Additionally, developers can leverage HealthKit to build innovative health and fitness experiences for app buyers.
Apple WatchOS 10 for cyclists and hikers
The Apple Watch, whose stunning new version of the WatchOS 10 operating system was unveiled on Monday, also offered many surprises for health and fitness enthusiasts.
In addition to brightening up the front of the Apple Watch with beloved Peanuts characters Snoopy and Woodstock, the tech giant also revealed some interesting updates for cyclists who wear the watch. The device is really useful for cyclists with features like automatic exercise reminders, e-cycling thermometer and fall detection. Now the watch can also be connected to Bluetooth-compatible bicycle sensors.
Using power, heart rate and movement data, the watch now estimates the user’s Functional Threshold Capacity (FTP), which is the highest level of cycling intensity that the user can theoretically sustain for an hour. And by removing a percentage of the FTP, they save power zones to improve performance.
There’s also a new feature that works by pairing it with an iPhone and automatically displays the watch’s live action on the home screen. Tapping the Activity button on your iPhone opens a full-screen display that shows your heart rate, elevation, current and maximum speed, and distance ranges.
WatchOS 10 also updates the compass and map feature to help hikers and cyclists navigate safely.
Mental health is one area that Apple emphasized a lot on Monday, which is in line with the growing trend to be more aware at home and in the workplace.
With the Mindfulness app on Apple Watch, users can now record their daily feelings and moods discreetly and easily. The device’s Digital Crown allows users to swipe through multiple shades to choose what they feel. This app is also available for iPad and iPhone and includes insights and insights based on lifestyle indicators such as sleep and exercise.
In another useful update, users looking to deepen their understanding of their mental health can now tap into the Apple Health app for standardized assessments used in clinics to answer questions about their feelings and determine their current risk of depression or anxiety. The user can also share the results with healthcare professionals.
Apple also kept social isolation in mind with its new Vision Pro headset with EyeSight, a feature that allows other people in the room to see the eyes of headset users as they interact in virtual or augmented reality environments. The feature was a hot topic in Apple’s rumor mill before its release, with consumers questioning how it would look and work. Its sleek, transparent design ensures that users aren’t completely isolated from others while enjoying an immersive experience, something Apple’s Cook previously expressed.
Another area that Apple has decided to reform is vision health, specifically myopia, or short-sightedness – a disease that affects 27 percent of the world’s population, according to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Because spending time outdoors in daylight can reduce the likelihood of developing nearsightedness, Apple Watch 10 now offers the ability to measure time spent in daylight with an ambient light sensor that the user can view in the Health app. This feature is mainly for parents who want to make sure their children get enough daylight.
Since the distance from the device or book to a person’s face can also affect the appearance of myopia, Apple introduces the Screen Distance feature, which monitors the distance a child holds the device from their eyes. If they get too close, the device suggests grabbing it farther away. Something that even adults can benefit from.
The WWDC keynote was as much about health as it was about innovation and technology. With talk of more responsible and healthy use of their software and devices, and the addition of apps and features that help users track their mental health and physical well-being, it’s clear that health is becoming more important to technology consumers.
These updates and features from the Cupertino, California-based company could start the bandwagon in the right direction and encourage more tech companies to put their healthcare customers first.
By Navanweta Sachdev, The Tech Panda