29 April 2023 |

Revolutionizing Wellness: Apple’s AI Health Coach on the Horizon?

By workweek

Apple is rumored to be building an AI-based personal health coaching service. This service will analyze millions of data points from the Apple Health app and provide customized feedback on your health along with suggestions for improvement.

Although this news isn’t confirmed, it’s still noteworthy and worth exploring.

In this article, I’ll delve into Apple’s existing health stack, examine the rumored service, and offer my $0.02 on it all.

Apple’s Health Stack

Apple has built its healthcare stack around its core products, namely the Apple Watch and iPhone, which are divided into two main categories: personal health and medical research/care for the broader community.

Personal health and fitness features

Apple Watch and iPhone have several fitness features that empower users.

Data from all of these features, including users’ medical records, are all in one place, making personal health and fitness data easily accessible and visually understandable.

The intelligent guardian is users’ favorite aspect of Apple’s health kit. As an intelligent guardian, Apple Watch communicates with iPhone every second, monitoring for arrhythmias, falls, crashes, and ear-damaging noise. The user doesn’t need to do any work to “monitor” their health. Apple does it for them.

Research and care within the medical community

Apple has been advancing medical research by facilitating researchers’ creation of studies using Apple’s products and increasing users’ access to medical research. Apple has two “research” features.

  • ResearchKit: allows researchers worldwide to build apps for innovative studies at an unprecedented scale.
  • Apple Research App: allows Apple’s diverse and large user base to participate in landmark studies.

Building on its existing health stack and focus on personal health and research, Apple’s rumored AI-powered personal health coach, codenamed ‘Quartz,’ promises to take their commitment to health and wellness a step further by providing tailored insights and recommendations.

The Rumored AI Health Coach

Apple’s rumored AI-powered personal health coach service appears to be built around three areas:

Although we don’t have much information on the specifics, here’s what I believe will happen: Apple will utilize its AI technology to analyze a user’s historical and real-time health app data. This health app encompasses not only Apple Watch and iPhone data but also health information from third-party wearables (such as Garmin) that have integrated with the app. With access to this vast amount of data, Apple’s AI personal health coach will be able to provide personalized “nudges” or coaching suggestions to motivate users to improve their exercise, diet, and sleep habits.

According to the rumor, Apple plans to launch this personal health coach next year. It won’t be free, though. The personal health coach will be a subscription service, following the likes of Oura Ring and WHOOP.

Dash’s Dissection

If Apple were to launch ‘Quartz’ tomorrow, without having heard the rumor, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s only a matter of time before Apple figures out how to leverage AI to provide personalized coaching based on the troves of user data it has.

Apple is late to the game, though.

WHOOP, for example, is wearable tech targeted at athletes to optimize performance using AI. The wearable monitors recovery, sleep, training, and health and offers personalized recommendations and coaching feedback. It’s also a subscription-based service. I’ve had a WHOOP since July 2021, and I love it.

Apple, however, has the potential to dominate the personalized coaching space with its massive market share. Apple Watch makes up ~50% of the smartwatch market and achieved an estimated 54 million sales last year. Additionally, there are 1.3 billion active iPhone users. Such dominance over the smartphone and smartwatch market may allow their AI-based personalized coaching service to proliferate.

Also note that iPhone and AppleWatch sales aren’t driving Apple’s revenue, per se— it’s Apple’s subscription-based services lines (e.g. Apple Music, Apple TV+) that are driving revenue ($78 billion in 2022). So this AI-based personalized coaching service will help drive Apple’s services revenue, which is estimated to reach $50 billion in profit by 2025.

Additionally, the AI-based personalized coaching service will help fulfill Apple’s goal of having the Apple Watch act as an intelligent guardian, constantly monitoring users’ vitals, gait, and environmental noise to detect deviations from baseline. With AI-based personalized coaching, Apple can turn this data into actionable insights and notify users of issues like gait abnormalities, providing exercises or referring them to a medical professional to prevent dangerous falls.

For instance, if a user’s gait is abnormal, Apple can promptly alert them and offer exercises or an app to improve muscle strength, or alternatively refer them to a local medical professional or physical therapist for a proper evaluation. This approach can prevent potentially harmful falls, even fatal ones.

Lastly, by launching the personalized health coach, it seems that Apple is committed to staying in the consumer lane as opposed to the medical lane. I discussed this in my latest article on wearable technology, where I talked about the blurring of “consumer” and “medical” wearable technology: consumer wearable tech can now perform high-quality measurements on par to medical-grade wearable tech. I briefly chatted with Dr. Jonathan Slotkin about this and agree with him that wearable tech companies (like Apple) must make an identity choice: be a consumer-grade device maker or medical-grade device maker.

This “identity” wearable tech companies choose will become more important as we quickly move into second-generation wearable tech (on-skin patches, tattoos, tooth-mounted films, contact lenses, textiles). So, Apple seems to be choosing the consumer lane, offering consumer-grade devices (think basic physiological data) with a touch AI for personalized insights and coaching.

In summary, Apple’s rumored AI-powered personal health coach has the potential to revolutionize the personal health coaching space by leveraging their massive market share and vast user data. The integration of AI technology could offer personalized insights and coaching for users based on their unique health profiles, further strengthening Apple’s position in the digital health landscape. However, it’s essential for the company to decide on its identity, whether it aims to focus on consumer-grade or medical-grade devices, as the wearable tech industry evolves. If executed effectively, ‘Quartz’ could not only boost Apple’s subscription-based revenue but also empower users to take control of their health and well-being.

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