Apple Watch is an mHealth disappointment--so far

Monday was a big day for Apple. But not such a big day for those of us eager to discover what Apple can do when it comes to developing an mHealth wearable device.

That's because for the most part, we still don't know what Apple can do with wearable mHealth tech. Apple's Watch, available next month, barely offers what could be described as mHealth functionality.

Given all its activity over the past few years with its health app, its HealthKit platform, its ability to cram expansive functionality into small sleek computing devices, its amazing partnering efforts with top tier medical organizations and its meetings with regulators about mHealth oversight, I, and likely many others, likely were anticipating something big to cheer about on Monday.

In one regard, something big did come. It just had nothing to do with Watch. The 'big' was the news of Apple's ResearchKit, a thrilling and surprising announcement that bodes well for healthcare researchers, scientists and drug makers. As we reported Monday it's an amazing move by Apple that is going to save lives.

Yes, Apple deserves big kudos for striving hard to solve challenges that are stalling medical and healthcare treatment innovation. ResearchKit, which is open source, will spur faster research, provide more insightful data and boost communications and collaboration in healthcare.

But when it comes to Apple Watch, I'm not feeling the same level of exuberance. Monday's revelations about Watch are disappointing to say the least, and disheartening at the core.

Yes, Apple Watch shines when it comes to mobile communications; and hey, it's neat--it can open a garage door and let me answer a call (as long as your iPhone, if you have one, is nearby). But there's no real 'wow' with Watch's mHealth functionality and capabilities.

I know from watching Apple--from its arrival as a tech company and through the decades--that it certainly is capable of creating amazing devices. I trust in Apple's capabilities as it has more than earned that trust and has delivered on its tech promises. It's also always been about making computing easy for users and I've always loved that mindset.

Maybe that's why I'm in such a funk over this first version of Watch. Sure, it's a first generation device, and Apple's legacy isn't one where new products arrive packed to the gills with astounding features and work perfectly. I truly didn't expect that scenario.

But what I did expect was more than what Watch is at this point. I think Apple, of any player in the mHealth wearables space, has the resources, the expertise and a commitment to high quality in product development. Simply put, if anyone can rock mHealth wearables, Apple can.

But it's hasn't, at least not yet.

All I can surmise is that the hurdles and challenges in developing a true mHealth wearable truly are a very tough proposition, even for the likes of Apple.

I just hope Apple doesn't get sidetracked and fail to expand on Watch. That would really be a disappointment. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)

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