During another inscrutable earnings call in October 2019, Tim Cook was answering the usual questions from the usual analysts. Nothing of interest was going on — and then this happened.
It's the second half of the last sentence that everyone latched on to. Health? In a world where Apple changed the world with iPhone? A world where receptionists of all shapes and sizes can proudly sit behind an iMac?
Yeah. Health. And you know what? Turns out, Cook might have been on to something.
Since then we've seen another Apple Watch arrive, this time in the form of Apple Watch Series 6. That brought with it support for blood oxygen monitoring for the first time. That's a big deal because despite me not being a doctor, even I know that it's pretty vital to have oxygen in your blood. So yay for that.
When watchOS 8 arrives this fall, people will be able to share their health data with friends and family, so they can make sure they're doing OK even when they aren't together. New mindfulness features will help people keep tabs on their mental health, and Apple Watch will track their sleeping respiratory rate. And that's all before we learn what Apple Watch Series 7 has in store for us.
And that's just some of the stuff Apple's done in the world of health since Cook's claim. We didn't know it at the time — and I'm not sure Apple knew it, either — but the first generation of Apple Watch changed the game and it's still doing it to this day.
Apple Watch saved a life just last week, and those stories are common. And they're just the ones we hear about! How many lives have been saved because Apple Watch helped someone change their lifestyle? Gave them the motivation to exercise more. Just reminded them to stand every once in a while? It all counts.
So when Tim Cook says health will be Apple's biggest contribution to the world, it might be more than a good quote in the middle of a boring finance call.
It might actually be true.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.