Apple (AAPL) has confirmed a report that it has teamed up with Stanford University on a heart study to determine if the Apple Watch can accurately detect cardiac arrhythmias. The goal of the study is to convince the FDA that the Watch’s heartrate monitor is accurate/sensitive enough to be used as a screening tool. Up until now, AAPL has been able to avoid federal oversight as the Watch has been classified as a wellness tool. The company also reported that it is expanding its partnership with Aetna (AET), to determine if the Watch can reduce overall health costs.
Howie Long-Short: CEO Tim Cook has stated “medical health activity is the largest or 2nd largest component of the economy, depending on the country”; so, the outcomes of these studies are going to be crucial to the future of the Watch. If AAPL can make the successful transition from fitness to medical, the Watch becomes a “must have” for high risk patients and sales soar. I’m of the belief that it isn’t a matter of if, but when they can prove they are saving lives.
Fan Marino: The latest AAPL watch includes LTE, meaning you no longer need to have your iPhone with you and connected to make calls, run apps, etc. It’s a big development for people who use the Watch for fitness tracking functionality, but if you don’t already have the Watch, it’s not convincing you to buy one. It’s certainly not convincing me.