On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away at his home in California.
A year ago, Jobs proposed the idea of a "smart watch" within Apple, "It needs to be very small, convenient, beautiful, and also needs to have powerful functions."
About a year after this, Apple also began to develop the idea of designing and producing "smart watches", and Jony Ive, then Apple's chief designer, became the leader of the Apple Watch project.
▲ Jony Ive Image from: idevice
According to Jobs' idea, he is going to integrate a variety of functions and unique aesthetics into the Apple Watch.
Even after a few years, the original Apple Watch is closer to a fashion device , but it still has a lot of linkage with iOS and some necessary health monitoring functions.
As for individual needs and fruity designs, Ive also realizes them through multiple product lines and various watch straps.
Also during Jobs' illness from 2010 to 2011, it also inspired his idea of technology products entering the healthcare field.
And it is clear that technology can help people better monitor, track and manage their physical conditions, as well as control some chronic diseases.
To this end, Apple also acquired RareLight and launched a partnership with Avolonte Health.
At that time, RareLight, a start-up company, publicized a concept of non-invasive blood sugar monitoring, but it did not land. Jobs led the acquisition, in fact, he is also optimistic that the combination of this technology and its own products can bring considerable prospects.
▲ Avolonte Health, known as one of Apple's mysterious departments, picture from: Google Street View
In fact, Avolonte Health is a bit like a guise of Apple. It conducts research in related medical fields in order to deceive people, and conducts human trials on related results, all for the sake of confidentiality.
This is a bit like Apple registered the trademark "Smart Island" in Jamaica before releasing the iPhone 14 Pro, in order to avoid leakage.
▲ Apple Park
This is also similar to the cooperation between Apple and Avolonte Health. Subsequently, the entire Avolonte Health team was included in Apple's XDG (Apple's Exploratory Design Group) project team.
Apple XDG is an exploratory design group established by Apple, similar to Google's X laboratory, focusing on the exploration and layout of new technologies.
The most famous product of Google X Lab is Google Glass, while Apple XDG dominates Apple Watch, AirPods and other products.
Perhaps launched in June this year, Apple's long-awaited virtual reality glasses are also designed and functioned by XDG.
Whether it is from the original intention of Jobs for the birth of "smart watch" and the continuous paving of the Apple XDG team in the field of medical technology, Apple Watch itself has great potential in the non-"watch" field.
However, judging from the current return, when the first generation of Apple Watch was released, some of the marketing methods Ive did were closer to the field of fashion accessories.
In addition, he also said that what Apple Watch wants to subvert is the traditional Swiss watch industry.
Previously, I was more inclined to Ive's pursuit of aesthetics and fashion, which made the Apple Watch a bit crooked.
However, looking back carefully, the original Apple Watch did not have much uniqueness in terms of technology and functions.
On the contrary, the gimmick of the square, exquisite and Edition version is obviously easier to remember the uniqueness of Apple Watch.
In the book "After Steve", Jony Ive's struggles in designing the Apple Watch are recorded. He needs an eye-catching design, unique features, and a perfect integration into the Apple ecosystem. .
The original Apple Watch has been successful in some ways, becoming a darling of the fashion circle after its launch.
As for the follow-up function expansion and the expansion of new battlefields, it was handed over to Tim Cook.
Under Tim Cook, a more pragmatic leader, Apple Watch has also begun to develop in the field of personal sports and fitness as we know it.
In addition to functional expansion, Apple Watch has also begun to become a technological pioneer product of "large devices" such as iPhone, Mac, and iPad.
Features such as AOD display, full screen, OLED, titanium alloy, etc. are all trial and error from the small product of Apple Watch, and finally expanded to a larger series of mainstream products after maturity.
Even so, the Apple Watch is still an accessory of the iPhone, but with the gradual implementation of medical monitoring functions such as ECG electrocardiogram, heart health, and blood oxygen, the Apple Watch can gradually get rid of the use of the iPhone.
On the other hand, Apple Watch Ultra is Apple's attempt in the professional field. The more hard-core appearance and unique professional functions make Apple Watch a bit like the practice of traditional watch manufacturers, creating multiple explosive product lines.
The plates of Apple Watch are getting bigger and bigger, but Apple’s vision is far from that. They are still working towards Jobs’ vision of “powerful functions”.
A breakthrough in non-invasive continuous blood glucose monitoring technology
After ECG and blood oxygen monitoring, the next Apple Watch is most likely to achieve non-invasive continuous monitoring of blood sugar.
According to Mark Gurman, Apple has made a breakthrough in blood sugar monitoring, realized non-invasive blood sugar monitoring, and also realized the initial miniaturization of the device.
Apple has developed a silicon photonic chip that collects the optical absorption spectrum returned after the laser is irradiated on the skin to determine the glucose concentration in the body, which was also incubated by the Apple XDG team.
The corresponding second-generation prototype is about the size of an iPhone, but it still needs to be strapped to the arm. It is a bit different from the Apple Watch, but it is considerably smaller than the first-generation desktop device.
Apple's next challenge is how to shrink it again, stuff it into the Apple Watch, and obtain certification from medical institutions in various regions.
Combined with Apple's best software and hardware, and integrated into the ecology, Apple will gain a breakthrough advantage in the blood sugar monitoring industry, and it will also break the original balance of this industry and bring a lot of impact.
Even though it is still some distance away from being introduced to the market, after the news was released, the share prices of Abbott Laboratories and Dexcom, the two largest medical companies in the United States, have already been affected.
Abbott and Dekang are the mainstream providers of blood glucose monitoring equipment in the United States, and they mainly adopt the traditional method of subcutaneous equipment and blood testing. The cost and equipment are much more than buying an Apple Watch.
Among them, professional equipment may cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, and the corresponding test strips and subcutaneous sensors are consumables, and it is difficult to read blood sugar levels conveniently and quickly.
The Apple Watch could be a smash hit
Compared with ECG and blood oxygen monitoring, blood sugar monitoring is more purposeful, and it will also be a just-needed product for patients with current diabetes and potential diabetes.
And this market is not small, as of 2021, there will be 32.7 million diabetics in the United States (90.7% of them are undiagnosed diabetics). An additional approximately 88 million American adults have prediabetes, all of whom require assistive devices for blood glucose monitoring and management.
After the Apple Watch is equipped with a convenient and fast blood sugar monitoring function, it may greatly promote the sales of Apple products, and after starting with the Apple Watch with its unique functions, it may in turn promote the sales of the iPhone and even other Apple products.
Let these users be firmly bound by the Apple ecosystem.
When Mark Gurman commented on this function, he described it as "moon landing", which shows that whether it is for Apple or other professional medical equipment manufacturers, or even for the industry, it may cause a huge change.
Apple Watch's continuous expansion of "powerful functions" is also a constant effort to get closer to Jobs' goal of changing medical conditions with technology.
At that time, when the function of Apple Watch is successfully implemented, it may become a hard currency for the elders during the holidays.
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