Tales from the Orchard: With these patents, Apple could win the next major platform war

 

By Helen Edwards and Dave Edwards of Quartz

The next stage of the platform wars may be in health.

Despite being one of the most regulated sectors, where change is driven as much by law as by technological advances, the big tech giants are active. Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway are teaming up to form an independent healthcare company for their employees in the United States. Alphabet’s Verily is moving into health insurance. And to consolidate, traditional healthcare giant Cigna has announced (paywall) it is buying pharmacy benefits firm Express Scripts.

While the same rules for platform domination will likely apply—adoption that builds on network effects aided by the power of Big Data and increasingly sophisticated AI—only one company already has a popular health-tracking device on sale that is essentially a supercomputer that’s always on your body.

The Apple Watch continues to grow its sales, which it doesn’t disclose but are already presumed to be in the tens of millions annually; one report suggests that Apple sold more watches last quarter than Rolex, Omega, and Swatch combined.

And the pipeline suggests that Apple has even more plans for its smartwatch.

At the end of February, Apple was awarded a patent for an Airpod-style charging case that can hold a watch but also a number of bands. This isn’t just a fashion accessory; the bands in question are “smart bands,” electronic devices in their own right. The reason you’d want more than one band might be because Apple might think that the next generation of medical devices will be for conditions that need more than one physiological measure—such as blood pressure and blood glucose for managing diabetes or glucose intolerance—and that measuring these body signals will not be possible in a single wearable.

(These bands aren’t fantasy—a company called AliveCor already offers the first US FDA-approved electrocardiogram reader for Apple Watch called Kardiaband, which may also be able to detect high potassium levels in the blood.)

Last year, Apple was also awarded a patent for a very clever way of measuring blood pressure with a Watch, where you can hold the Watch against your chest and a controller is configured to process output signals from an accelerometer. It detects when your blood-pressure pulse is propagated from the left ventricle of your heart, detects when it arrives at your wrist, then calculates a pulse-transit time that is then used to calculate your blood pressure. The accelerometer is dead in the middle of the band, not in the body of the Watch. This makes us think that there’s not much else that can go in that band, except perhaps a battery and maybe some colored lights.

Another area to speculate on is what else Apple may be thinking of monitoring. In the US alone, there are 115 million people who suffer from some form of pre-diabetes, diabetes, or hypertension. Many people actively monitor their diabetes through physiological monitoring of blood glucose with a finger prick test. Blood-glucose measurement through non-invasive means is a significant challenge and no one has figured out a reliable way to do it accurately.

But rumor has it that Apple is on the case. This is a very tough technical challenge that people have been trying to solve for decades. We suspect that Apple’s case patent may be an indicator that it will not be possible or desirable to use one band for both blood pressure and blood glucose, or anything else for that matter, for at least the next decade. So you might not be monitoring everything all of the time but you may be easily able to switch out charged smart bands that are fashionable and conceal that you are being monitored.

Apple needs the Watch to win the health-platform wars. They know you’ll want to preserve your privacy by being able to disguise what you are monitoring. They know you’ll want to be able to effortlessly store and connect because you will be required to supply all the data to your doctor, insurer or employer. They know that anything less will feel like the monitoring—and hence the condition—has taken over your life.

We think that only Apple can make medical surveillance bearable, much less cool. Which makes an Apple Watch, smart bands, and a case that does it all, an essential purchase. At that point, the Watch system is a lot more than just a $400 watch and the market isn’t just consumers—it’s employers and insurers who figure out the new economics of health as a platform service. The overall market for watches is likely smaller than phones but Apple’s competitive advantages in design, technology, and data security could give it a significantly higher market share in watches.

This is especially true for insurance company buyers who will be focused on effectiveness and security much more than price. If Apple emerges as the safe purchase for corporate buyers, the Watch could be the next big thing that investors have been looking for since the iPhone.

 

What do think of Apple tackling the Health Industry? Tell us in the comments below!

Tales from the Orchard: Apple can win electronic medical record game with Health Records in iOS 11.3

 

 

 

By Larry Dignan of ZDNet

Apple’s next update of operating system for iPhones and iPads will include a feature called “Health Records” that may ultimately be best positioned to aggregate electronic medical records for individuals.

The move to electronic medical records and the patient portals that go with them has been underway for years.

There are multiple players in the space and tech giants such as Microsoft and Google and now Apple have been inserting themselves into the health care market.

Meanwhile, wearable device companies can also be players in the patient data game. Fitbit and Apple have been partnering with medical device makers and that data can ultimately be rolled up into a portal and health record.

 

So what’s in Apple’s favor with Health Records in iOS 11.3?

1 The Apple Watch and iPhone is a conduit for micro-level data such as heart rate, activity and if in some cases medical conditions. Apple’s HealthKit already gives the company a foothold in the healthcare market.

2 Apple is good with partnering. Just like Apple has with enterprise technology giants, the company has partnered with the leading players in the health record space. Apple is going for the aggregation approach and partnering to suck in data from participating medical institutions in one place.

3 The leading medical data players are on board with Health Records. Apple is starting with a dozen hospitals including Johns Hopkins Medicine and Penn Medicine and has connections into Epic Systems and Cerner. Epic and Cerner are the leading players in the medical record management space. Think of Epic as the SAP of hospital management software. The hospitals listed as Apple’s launch partners run on Epic and Cerner for the most part.

4 Apple is going along with standards. Health Records is based on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), which is a standard for transferring electronic medical records.

5 The healthcare industry has already done a lot of the heavy lifting. The real work to move to electronic medical records has occurred over the last decade with a push from the government. All that IT integration primed the pump for a player like Apple to bring healthcare data to consumer devices.

6 Apple’s enterprise footprint can be leveraged. When Apple is pitching its health record and portal wares it appeals to IT executives directly.

7 Privacy. Apple has played the privacy marketing well and differentiated itself from Google’s cloud and data centric approach. In areas like artificial intelligence, Apple’s approach is a handicap. In healthcare, that approach is an asset as Health Records will be encrypted and protected under a user’s iPhone passcode.

What do you think of Apple’s influence in our Healthcare System? Sound off in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 1/12/18

 

 

Again?! Steve Jobs may have been a tyrant when it came to the details but, this sh*t rarely happened on his watch.

Yet another macOS High Sierra bug: Unlock App Store system preferences with any password.


With all the Technology surrounding these guys, you’d think they’d pay better attention to the world around them. I mean, I know they live in a bubble, but c’mon!
Data Sheet—Darkness Hits CES Amid the Tech Backlash.

 

And my hometown made the list! Charlotte NC for the win!
Tech’s New Hotbeds: Cities With Fastest Growth In STEM Jobs Are Far From Silicon Valley.

Wait, does this mean no more Jitterbug?!
Tech for the elderly is a growing area, but founders should think more about whether their gadget will be used.

 

I think Steve would be more worried about the lack of leadership in his company right now, actually.
The ‘father of the iPod’ says tech addiction would worry Steve Jobs if he were alive today.

 

What, bribes don’t work on Congress anymore? Since when?!
Tech executives join more than 100 business leaders calling on Congress to move quickly on DACA.

 

You know, when I was a kid, I remember my parents writing to Captain Kangaroo and asking him to cut his programming in half so I’d watch less. SMH
Kids and Smartphones: Should Tech Companies or Parents Set the Limits?

How to: record your iPhone screen in iOS 11

 

BY ABHISHEK KURVE of Cult of Mac

Recording your iPhone screen used to be a hassle. If you wanted to capture iOS gameplay, or make a funny or informative GIF of on-screen action, you needed to download a third-party app or connect your device to a computer.

Those days are over: With iOS 11, Apple baked in sweet functionality that lets you record your iPhone screen effortlessly. Here’s how to do it.

How to record iPhone screen natively

 

As you might know, iOS 11 lets you add and organize toggles in the Control Center. In iOS 11, which Apple released Tuesday September 19th, you’ll find the capability to record your iPhone screen is present as a Control Center option.
To use it, open Settings > Control Center and add Screen Recording using the + button.

Now whenever you need to start recording your iPhone screen, just swipe up from the bottom to open Control Center and tap on the “record” toggle, which should look something like this:

The toggle should turn red, indicating that the screen is being recorded. There’s also a persistent notification bar that shows the duration of the recording.

To end the screen capture, just bring up the Control Center again and turn off the recording by tapping on the same toggle.

Once you’ve finished, you can access your iOS screen recording from inside the Photos app. You can also trim the video to adjust its length.

What do you think of this new feature? Tell us in the comments below!

WIT: How the tech industry wrote women out of history

 

By Katie Brewer o f The Guardian

Susie the computer: sophisticated but cheap. Susie and her computer friend Sadie appeared in 1960s adverts to promote a now defunct UK computer company, accompanied by a young, attractive, nameless woman. Feminised adverts like these were a common ploy in Britain at the time, when male managers, uninitiated in the complexities of this new technology, viewed the machines as intimidating and opaque.

“Computers were expensive and using women to advertise them gave the appearance to managers that jobs involving computers are easy and can be done with a cheap labour force,” explains technology historian Marie Hicks. They might have been on a typist’s salary, but women like the one who appears alongside Susie and Sadie were not typists – they were skilled computer programmers, minus the prestige or pay the modern equivalent might command.

As Hicks’ book Programmed Inequality illustrates, women were the largest trained technical workforce of the computing industry during the second world war and through to the mid-sixties.

 

They operated the huge room-sized electromechanical computers that cracked codes, worked out military logistics and made ballistic calculations during the second world war. Later they went on to work for civil service departments – operating the computers needed for government to gather data and run properly. “It was viewed as unskilled, highly feminised work,” explains Hicks. “Women were seen as an easy, tractable labour force for jobs that were critical and yet simultaneously devalued.”
Managers perceived women to be ideal for the computing industry because they didn’t think they needed to be offered any sort of career ladder, explains Hicks. “Instead the expectation was that a woman’s career would be kept short because of marriage and children – which meant a workforce that didn’t get frustrated or demand promotions and higher wages.”

But by the 1970s, there was a change in mindset and women were no longer welcome in the workplace: the government and industry had grown wise to just how powerful computers were and wanted to integrate their use at a management level. “But they weren’t going to put women workers – seen as low level drones – in charge of computers,” explains Hicks. Women were systematically phased out and replaced by men who were paid more and had better job titles.

Discrimination still remains

 

“Today, companies still perceive it as lucrative to treat women differently than men, to pay them less,” says Hicks. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg recently spoke out against the gender pay gap, prevalent in the tech space where giants like Google have been accused of systematically underpaying women. In May the company argued that it would be too much of a financial hassle to compile and hand over the salary records requested by the US Department of Labor. In August the Silicon Valley company was left facing legal action over the leak of a male software engineer’s 10-page manifesto criticising diversity initiatives and arguing that men occupy more leadership roles than women in tech due to “biological differences”.
“Even though companies like Google obviously weren’t around in that earlier period, they’re still benefiting from the same cultures that sidelined women,” says the author.

 

If women had continued to be a major force in computing, instead of being sidelined, the way the tech industry looks today would have been very different, she argues. “If women had been a more important part of the high tech industry all along, would so many platforms and apps have the same problems with rampant sexism and misogyny both in their workplaces and their products? Most likely not.”
The British computing industry lost its edge when it removed women – and ultimately, the move destroyed it, believes Hicks. “There were persistent labour shortages once women were thrown away – a lot of the young men who got trained to do these jobs soon decided to go and do something else because it was still seen as feminised work and there really wasn’t a career ladder at that point.”

The effect of sidelining women

 

If women had remained a part of the workforce, the scope and quality of computing products we have today – particularly software – would undoubtedly be better, says Hicks. She uses Dame Stephanie Shirley as an example of the sort of talent effectively written off by the mainstream industry at the time. In the face of repeated workplace discrimination, the 29-year-old went it alone in the 1960s and built up a thriving software business for female computer programmers.

In an interview with the Guardian earlier this year, Shirley said she knew her work at the Post Office’s prestigious Dollis Hill research station was good enough to get her promoted, but the promised promotion never materialised. “When I began to make it clear that I was pursuing a vigorous professional career, then it became a more entrenched position to keep me out,” she recalls. When the young computer programmer got married, it was expected that she would stop work immediately.

“Women continue to be weighed down with this sort of heteronormative cultural baggage,” says Hicks. “I think it’s clear that just relying on companies to do the right thing is not going to work and I think unions are going to have to become a major force again.”

And it’s vital that the invisible female workforce that upheld the computing industry for more than 40 years isn’t forgotten. “It’s easy to write history just looking at the people who are really good self-promoters – it isn’t as sexy or exciting to focus on a broad swath of faceless workers – but historical change doesn’t come from one person doing one thing.”

What changes would you make to Silicon Valley’s gender equality problem? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 8/18

 

 

Maybe they should ask Trump for advice on how to deal with them…. Too Soon?
Tech is not winning the battle against white Supremacy


Guess they didn’t read the fine print…

Here’s why Tech Execs can’t quit Trump’s technology council

It’s all fun and games….
The US Government must work with tech companies if it wants to remain competitive in AI

….Until the subpoenas start flying around.
Tech firm is fighting a federal demand for data on visitors to an anti-Trump website.


Leave the old people alone!!

Robocall scams get craftier as tech industry tries new ways to block the practice.


When I was in 4-H, all we got to do was cook $hit and shovel $hit.

Google continues to push diversity in tech — now with the 4-H club

…But they didn’t have any problem approving them to begin with?!
Apple pulls Apple Pay support from selling White Nationalist and Nazi Apparel.

Weekly Round Up – 7/28

 

 


Kenya – 1. America – 0

How Kenyans are using Tech to stop election fraud and violence.


Because Fake News, that’s why.

Why we need the liberal arts in Technology’s age of distraction


Does this new tech impact my discount as a Yelp Reviewer?

The Risk of Restaurant Tech

 

If Vegas offers odds on this, I’d make an effin’ fortune.
The tech skills gap will test Foxconn’s new Wisconsin factory

 


What?! No more Jitterbug?!

Best Buy bets on tech for monitoring elderly parents

 

Healthcare is the new digital frontier and Amazon already has a leg up on it’s competitors.
Amazon has a secret health care team called 1492 focused on medical records, virtual doc visits

 

We used to joke that The Orchard had us all fitted with implants called the iSliver.
Tech company workers agree to have microchips implanted in their hands

The New Apple is the Old Microsoft

 

 

By FundamentalSpeculation.IO on SeekingAlpha.com

Summary

  • I see signs of history repeating itself – the new behemoth in tech is becoming more and more like the old behemoth in tech.
  • The bull case for apple is the strong moat around its best selling product – the iPhone. Based on this year’s WWDC, if anything, this moat is only getting bigger.
  • The bear case is that it is a single product company. They just can’t seem to be able to expand meaningfully into other categories that can rival the iPhone.
  • Is the new Apple with its iPhone a lot like the old Microsoft with its windows/office?
  • We consult our relative value model to see what may be considered fair value for Apple in today’s market.

I am a geek at heart. I like the flexibility of customizing my tools exactly to my liking. I am biased to prefer Linux over macOS/Windows and an android based phone over an iPhone (though I own both). This leads me to not be a big fan of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL products. I am however also in the minority. I appreciate the fact that most people are looking to see how computers/tablets/smartphones can help them in what they regularly do in their lives and prefer an intuitive interface over the customization I crave for. I have experienced this firsthand. I have tried to get my mom to use various laptops, tablets and phones over the years in the end the only devices she likes to use are the iPhone and the iPad. There is definitely tremendous value in the user experience and ecosystem apple has built.

The bear case for apple on the other hand is that it is a single product company at this point and at today’s valuation as the most valuable company ever in history, any misstep here can lead to a significant correction. I watched Apple’s WWDC keynote from earlier this month and I believe this only reinforces the beliefs of both parties. I will go over what I believe this means for the future of apple. Let’s start off with the good stuff from WWDC.

WWDC: The good stuff

Apple has been working tirelessly to make incremental improvements to the iPhone/iPad, its services and the ecosystem in general. I am a fan of Apple Pay and the introduction of P2P payments through Apple Pay has a very good chance of making mobile payments more mainstream in the US. As a developer, I’m also very interested in ARKit. What a lot of people do not realize is that one of the biggest hurdles in building such AR applications is the heavy lifting you need to do to build an infrastructure to support an AR platform before you can actually design your product.

The fact that ARKit does most of the heavy lifting is a big deal. While I would never consider hiring a team of developers to help me build such an AR platform for my one app, I would be much more willing to devote some of my time to building a useful product on top of ARKit. There were also a bunch of other feature additions. While I cringed at the number of times the speakers tried to weave the phrase “machine learning” into their talks, I expect users will find value in a lot of the feature additions.

WWDC: The bad stuff

Steve jobs very famously simplified Apple’s product line when he was brought back to save the company. His “four quadrant” product grid is now legendary. Fast forward twenty years and now how many variations of apple products do we have again?

I understand apple is trying to squeeze the last few dollars from its customer base by trying to cater to some very specific needs a subset of the users may have, but some of the variations they are looking to launch are just silly. Case in point the new iMac Pro.

After what can only be considered a failed launch of the Mac Pro and a very rare admission of guilt, apple seems to be taking a second stab at the pro user. Let me be clear, if I am looking to buy a workstation as a professional user, my single biggest consideration is a modular, expandable design. I do not care one bit about aesthetics in this case! (It also took a lot of restraint for me to not use more colorful language). What I am looking to make sure is that my large investment will not go obsolete within the next few years requiring me to fork out several thousand dollars again to buy the new version of the same product. I fail to see who the target audience is for this device. It also looks like Apple realized this would be a concern and included language in their press release to assure customers that they are still working on a Mac Pro with a modular design. That being the case, it still does not excuse apple from creating useless product lines. This is the exact opposite of what Steve Jobs did to turnaround the company.

“In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest-end, high-throughput system in a modular design, as well as a new high-end pro display.”

The new Apple is like the old Microsoft

This brings me to how I believe this will play out for apple. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT famously experienced a “lost decade” where the company was tremendously profitable but the stock languished with no one believing Microsoft could build anything successful beyond windows/office. It continued to generate massive profits through this period but the multiples just contracted. It was only recently when Satya Nadella took over the reigns and refocused the company as cloud-first and mobile-first that the stock has taken off. I see a similar case with Apple. I believe the iPhone will continue to be a very successful product. Revenues from services related to this ecosystem will also continue to grow in the near-mid term. However despite the recent run up in the stock, I do not see much room for any significant multiple expansion. Let’s take a look at what our Relative Value Model has to say about Apple.

To add some color to the chart shown above, the “Cohort Fair Value” is the Fair value determined by our Relative Value Model based on comparables with similar business fundamentals (Such as Growth, Operating Leverage, Profitability etc). The “Fair Value” factors in a premium the market is currently paying for technology companies. If you agree with me that Apple will go through a phase similar to Microsoft in the 2000s, then the cohort fair value is the level to look for. Earlier this year, I would have recommended buying Apple and it reached our cohort fair value before falling back again in the recent tech sell-off. If at any point it starts to become clear that Apple can be more than just an iPhone company, I will get a lot more bullish and look for moves towards our sector adjusted “Fair Value” levels.

At the end of the day if you are bullish on the overall market at today’s levels or just want to stay invested, I consider Apple a good buy as long as it is below our cohort fair value. Start trimming your positions whenever it exceeds this level. Good luck with your investments!

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Weekly Round Up 6/9

 

Preach!
Michelle Obama to Silicon Valley: Make Room for Women in Tech


Thus replacing their old title of “State with the most missing teeth.”

Alabama city is America’s fastest-growing tech town

 

This is only the tip of the iceberg of what they need to learn.
What Silicon Valley can learn from Lebanon’s women in tech


This one hurts because it’s right in my own back yard.

Lowe’s lays off over 120 tech workers in Mooresville, will send jobs to India

This is the second most disappointing thing Tim Cook did this week.
Tech CEO’s Cook, Bezos, Cats said to attend Kushner-led summit.

For the gadget gals who love a good deal.

Life Hack: Here’s how you can get the best tech for less

We have to start somewhere, Ladies.

Melinda Gates: How Women Grads Can Succeed in Tech

That’s like asking, “Can the NRA do more to stop gun violence?”

Can Tech companies do more to stop terrorism?

Weekly Round Up 6/2

 

Me too, Woz. Elon Musk is ‘the man’!
Apple Co-Founder Bets on Tesla for Next Tech Breakthrough

A strongly worded letter isn’t going to do it, guys. Drumpf only has a third grade reading level and the attention span of a gnat with a lobotomy.
Lab Report: Tech Leaders Fight for Paris Accord

Any progress in this fight is good. We need to up the survivor rate numbers for most gynecological cancers.
New tech promises easier cervical cancer screening

I don’t know if this country can survive another bubble bursting…
Another tech bubble in the making? Many signs say yes

I applaud any gadget that motivates us to get off binge watching butts and work out.
The Best Health Tech 2017: Gadgets That Make You Fit And Healthy

Please be true!Please be true!Please be true!Please be true!
This guy wants to use tech to create a “Wizarding pub” in London.

Did they make this so all the nerds living in their mom’s basement will have something to wear when meet their Sex-bots for the first time?
Fashion and tech collide in this VR-friendly connected shirt

Let’s see if Apple has any love for the Mac Pro and iMac users out there.
Apple WWDC 2017: What to Expect

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: