Apple's chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, doesn't just spearhead Apple Watch for the company. He spearheads all of Apple's health initiatives, including ResearchKit, CareKit, and future projects. That's how seriously Apple takes health and the potential for technology to help people live not just easier but better lives. Which brings us to Apple's new Heart Study app.

Christina Farr, writing for CNBC:

Apple has released a first-of-its-kind Heart Study app to research whether its Apple Watch can pick up a heart rhythmic disorder called atrial fibrillation — one of the most common causes of strokes and heart failure.

People who sign up for the study will use the watch to monitor their heart rate and heart rhythm and will consult with a physician if there's an abnormality.

"This might seem like a simple study, but we think this is a really special time," said Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams in an interview. "Hopefully we can save a lot of lives."

Atrial fibrillation is responsible for some 130,000 deaths every year in the U.S. alone.

Apple isn't turning Watch into a medical diagnostic device that requires FDA and international health agency approval. It's taking consumer technology and extending it into monitoring. Why should watchOS merely count your steps or track your workout when it can provide far more data on things like heart rate?

The entire interview with Williams and the rundown of the process are well worth a read. And I hope we see this spread quickly from the U.S. to all regions around the world.

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