With expectations for the Apple Watch running as high as any product launch in the company's history, most observers will be tracking sales closely to gauge its success and its impact on the emerging wearables market. We'd like to suggest a more significant and long-term measure of its impact: how it, and other wearables, might one day help fulfill the promise of digital health.
Measured this way, the Apple Watch, introduced amid great fanfare that's typical of Apple launches, and the entire wearables category has a long way to go. Apple's new device is part smartwatch and part health and fitness tracker, but the realization of digital health requires much more.
We believe the future of digital health monitoring and management will evolve far beyond the wrist—taking revolutionary new forms, embedded in new devices, materials and even objects that today have little or no association with health care.
Don't get us wrong, the Apple Watch is part of a technology revolution helping to make people more attuned to their overall health and fitness, but Apple and other technology companies have an opportunity to drive more meaningful changes.
Let's take a look beyond the watch at the future of wearables and digital health.