Technology 4 min read

Google vs Apple: Healthcare in Industry 4.0

Rose Carson |

Rose Carson |

Thanks to their long tradition of research and innovation, both Apple and Google are revolutionizing the healthcare world.

Today, medicine is constantly on the cusp of a deep and far-reaching cultural and technological revolution.

Conventional medicine and its empirical approach to treatment is gradually giving way to a preventive and ultra-personalized approach to medicine.

The idea is to propose the right treatment for the right patients, at the right time, by using biometrics and other highly-personal data.

This all augurs well for the future of healthcare, except that the champs of the incoming medical revolution might not be “Big Pharma” or medical research labs, but instead tech companies.

And at the tech foreground, there are Google and Apple.

Apple and Google rivalry extends to healthcare.Click To Tweet

Apple and Google’s Ongoing Rivalry

Heated rivalries always make for a good watch, whether in sports, cinema or even politics, and oftentimes they bring the best out of competing parties.

The same also applies to the rivalry between large corporations.

Rivalry is all the more exciting in the tech world, especially when it involves two titans like Apple and Google.

Each with its own business model and corporate ecosystem, the two companies haven’t necessarily engaged in head-to-head competitions.

And that’s why the rivalry between them, though bound to last, won’t necessarily mean that one would marginalize the other. In addition, Apple and Google are trying to integrate each other’s strengths to address their weaknesses.

For example, while Google is working to make Android less fragmented, Apple is making its system a little less closed off.

Their now 10-year-old competition over smartphone platforms was only the beginning.

With their wide app platforms, electronic gadgets, and huge databases, Google and Apple, which want a bite of the $3 trillion healthcare cake, are both contributing to the now gestating  concept of “personalized medicine.”

The “patents and innovations competition” between Apple and Google will have large-scale impacts on the lives of billions of people.

“Google” Your Health!

Google relies on its ability to collect and cross-check the various data of millions of individuals to statistically guess which diagnosis is most likely. It can determine the common characteristics of certain groups of individuals that respond better to specific treatments than those of others.

Google health projects encompass healthcare, fitness, and well-being through multiple services, such as Google Cloud, Google Fit and Search (as a multifaceted symptom database).

Last July, Google announced the resurrection of Glass designed for use in a wide range of industries–including healthcare.

The new Glass can help healthcare professionals with “a remote scribe”, a new app developed by Augmedix.

Doctors can cut down their data-entry time by using Glass to update records while interacting face-to-face with patients in real-time.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, created Calico, which aims to fight disease and aging through the focusing of algorithms on a mountain of biological data.

Verily is another healthcare subsidiary of Alphabet which develops innovative healthcare tools and platforms.

Apple Starts Watching Healthcare

After tackling other facets of mobile tech like security and music entertainment, Apple now endeavors to contribute to preventive and personalized medicine.

Apple plans to conquer the healthcare market thanks to the iPhone that it intends to turn into a digital health record, containing analysis results and latest doctors prescriptions.

Alcohol intake, number of daily steps, body temperature, heart rate–since the iOS 8 update, the iPhone offers a comprehensive look at its user’s biostats via the Health app.

Apple also wants to make collected health data available to appropriate healthcare professionals–following the model of the iTunes music platform to artists.

The latest Apple Watch Series 3, unveiled this week, is equipped with the WatchOS 4 that comes with advanced health and fitness functions.

Apple Watch Series 3
Apple Watch | Apple |

The Series 3 comes with a new heart rate monitor that tracks abnormal heart activity, the performance of which will be assessed through the Apple Heart Study.

What’s more, the apple watch will:

  • Record health metrics during a work out
  • Log resting and elevated heartrates
  • Come with a built in arrhythmia monitor
  • Have built in LTE connectivity to transmit the data if necessary

Apple has recruited some of the world’s leading specialists in biomedicine, health sensors, and medical algorithms to enhance the health applications of their devices.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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