The timing of the media reports of the alleged raids on the iCloud accounts of celebrities Jennifer Lawrence and Mary Winstead and the leaking of intimate photographs or more than 100 celebrities, could not have been worse for Apple.
Apple is not the first company to develop the concept of wearing your life on your sleeve. Jawbone, the wearable healthcare group announced that it filed patent applications in Europe and the US that relate to “lifeotypes” – profiles of individuals that combine real time fitness data with other information such as health records, an individual’s mood or online purchase history.
In May, the US Federal Trade Commission called for tighter rules after a 17 month investigation that discovered that the data broker industry had created categories that focus on health conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes and even pregnancy. It seems that Jawbone’s patents that connect wearables to the patient’s wallet took a hit to the chin. The Financial Times reported last year that many of the top fitness aps were selling information to about 70 third party companies. Mapping your run might seem a fairly uninteresting nugget of information to anyone but the runner, but to data dealers it’s a goldmine when combined with data from other apps that track a range of habits from food preferences to when a menstrual cycle starts.
But for all the concern, the upside has to be huge. Apps that can help a patient monitor their sugar intake, diet, alcohol use, training regimens, fitness levels, weight, body fat, hydration and everything in between have got to be a huge step in the right direction. The benefits to the nation’s health and the reduction in health care costs are perhaps immeasurable, but in my opinion wearables are a good thing and they are here to stay. Privacy concerns will no doubt be a favorite of the talking heads, but Siri telling you “Don’t even think about it” as you get within range of your local Dunkin Donuts or telling you where your nearest salad bar is as your metabolism needs nourishment, though arguably encroaching on privacy issues, isn’t necessarily a bad thing is it?
If a wearable device that interfaces with my mobile device could feed the key metrics to my healthcare provider in a prophylactic managed care protocol that would result in my monthly healthcare premiums be reduced - I’d be all in.
The irony? It seems as though the Jawbone really is connected to the hip bone.
Stephen O'Hare also writes a blog on www.pedors247.com - the Pedors Business to Business portal.