As Healthcare and Technology Merge, Apple and Google Become Even Bigger Rivals
Apple’s latest iPhone 6 and iOS 8 software releases have been taking the tech industry by storm; one would be hard-pressed to find a news source that doesn’t provide an article talking about how Apple iPhone 6 sales managed to reach 10 million within the very first weekend of being released, or how customers waited anxiously in line for days outside of Apple stores. But now that the new iPhone and iOS software has been released, Apple users are actively putting both releases to the test; Apple’s involvement in the healthcare industry, specifically promoted through both of these releases, has garnered quite a bit of the attention. The verdict? Good — but not great.
In a piece recently published by Forbes, healthcare and tech industry contributor Dan Munro notes that the iPhone and iOS software releases are indicative of a technology trend in the healthcare sector: rather than joining the masses of loyal Apple customers — and despite Apple’s major foray into the healthcare industry — Munro predicts that healthcare workers will start to prefer Google over Apple.
The fact that Apple’s Healthkit, a collection of health- and fitness-tracking apps, was meant to be included in the iOS 8 software bundle but was postponed due to a vague “bug” doesn’t bode well for Apple’s involvement in the industry. Although Apple has reassured critics that its Healthkit functions on a highly-secure network, recent iCloud privacy breaches have many consumers wondering just how safe the network really is — and when information as sensitive as health records are concerned, privacy always has to be the first priority. Perhaps the recent “bug” has nothing to do with privacy concerns — but it appears that Apple doesn’t have any intention of letting us know for sure.
Another concern that Munro also references is the problem with pricing: Apple is notorious for charging exuberant prices on products that lock consumers into years-long contracts. The latest iPhone 6, for example, costs almost $650 for 16GB of storage; Android-powered phones, on the other hand, hover well below the $500 mark and aren’t locked into Apple software.
And even if Google devices don’t provide the same amount of memory or the same pre-loaded apps, there are ways around these problems. A secure cloud server can easily store as much data as necessary for an entire healthcare system, and an unlocked Google device is capable of downloading and using a variety of mobile apps as they are developed.
Although Apple has managed to achieve an impressive display of brand loyalty, it’s unlikely that the healthcare industry will become willing to blindly follow one tech giant. Unlike the millions of Apple consumers worldwide, healthcare officials have to take into consideration the amount of sensitive data that they possess; if privacy should ever become an issue in the future as the tech and healthcare industries merge, industry leaders in both sectors will certainly be held accountable.