Apple held its annual developers conference WWDC’s keynote on June 8. As part of that, the company introduced the next generation of software for its hardware along with some updates to its services. To bring new features to the Health app and related services it offers along with it.
TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington spoke with Apple’s Vice President (VP) of Technology Kevin Lynch about the new health features the company is set to release later this fall. Lynch has appeared at several Apple events, including the actual demonstration of the original Apple Watch in 2014.
From 2014 to beyond: The Health app
“It’s been amazing how much it’s evolved over time,” said Lynch, about the Health app. “It actually started from Apple Watch, where we were capturing heart rate data for calorimetry activity, and [Activity] ring closure, and we needed a place to put the heart rate data. So we created the Health app as a place to store the data.”
Apple needed a central location to store all health data and the Health app was the result. To improve upon that, the company slowly released new APIs for developers to better use the features.
“We were showing people their heart rate, and you could look at it — we were using it for calorimetry,” Lynch added. “But some users actually were looking at their heart rate when they weren’t working out, and noticed it was high. They would go talk to their doctor, and the doctor would find a heart issue, and we would start getting letters about this. We still get letters today about our work in the space, which is amazing. But some of those early letters were clueing us into ‘Wait, we could actually look for that ourselves in the background’.”
“Walking steadiness actually came from fall detection,” Lynch said. We were working on fall detection, and that’s been really awesome, but as we’re working on it, we’re brainstorming about how we can actually help people not fall, rather than just detecting that they fell. It’s pretty tricky to do that in the moment – there’s not much you could do once that’s actually happening.”