Apple Watch mHealth functionality limited

The Apple Watch is "the most personal device we've ever created that is not just with you, but on you," Apple CEO Tim Cook said during an Apple product event Monday, listing out the wearable's timekeeping, activity monitoring, watch face customization and call features.

For instance, he said, users can draw or doodle and share their work on another Watch display; they can open a garage door with the device. And any virtually communications functionality available on an iPhone is available on Watch.

The list of mHealth capabilities is far shorter, however. There is a heart rate app, with a cute red heart icon and some health related messaging (for example Watch will tell you when you've been sitting too long). The device also provides a weekly 'health report,' and sets new health-related targets based on activity data gleamed in the past.

"It's like having a coach on your wrist," Cook said, before seguing into how a top model is using the Watch for her marathon quests and her goal to improve her running time.

The Watch, set to hit the market officially on April 24, will be available for pre-order on April 10 and arrive in three editions as outlined at its initial debut event last fall. The basic version will start at about $350. The high-end version will start at about $10,000.

Tavis McCourt, of Raymond James Financials, predicts 10 percent of iPhone users--about 30 million consumers--are interested in buying the Watch, according to a NBC report. "Apple wants to dominate the high-end of margins where big profits are," McCourt said.

Strategy Analytics projects that Apple will sell 15 million Watches before the end of the year. "Apple will quickly become the world's number one smartwatch vendor and capture 55 percent global marketshare this year," Cliff Raskind, director at Strategy Analytics, said in an announcement.

Parks Associates expects Apple will sell between 15 million to 20 million Watch devices in 2015. The "wild card," notes the research firm, is potential demand in Asia, particularly in China, where Apple products have become very popular, writes analyst Harry Wang, in a blog post.

Vendors are scrambling to make headway in the mHealth wearables sector. Just last week, LG announced its first 4G LTE-enabled smartwatch wearable, called the LG Watch Urbane LTE. It features all the communication functions of a smartphone in a metal wristwatch form factor.

As FierceMobileHealthcare has reported, smartwatches and fitness trackers will be at the forefront as the global wearable device market grows from 17 million shipments in 2013 to 187.2 million by 2020, representing a 34 percent market growth, according to a Tractica report.

Related Articles:
Health functions dropped from Apple Watch after glitches
Diabetes tracking app in development for Apple Watch
Reports: Wearables primed for big growth, with Apple Watch driving adoption
Watch companion app focuses on fitness, claims report