Based on Tim Prepare dinner, This Will Be Far Greater for Apple than the iPhone
The Mac. The iPod. The iPhone.
Apple has made some pretty important contributions to how we experience personal technology. I think you could easily say that Apple’s greatest legacy is its products. All three products have fully defined their categories and influenced any attempt to follow their successful paths.
For example, there is no question that the iPhone is one of the most remarkable inventions of the past 20 years. Alongside the personal computer, it is possibly the most revolutionary technology of all time. It fundamentally changed the way we connect and communicate with the world around us in unimaginable ways before it was introduced on stage by Steve Jobs in 2007.
Or maybe Apple will be known as an advocate for privacy. The company has taken a very public stance on many of the practices of other technology companies that track user information and monetize it with targeted advertising. Apple’s view that privacy is “a fundamental human right” has not only benefited consumers, but has also raised awareness of how much of our data is collected by the apps and services we use every day. That is certainly a noble contribution.
However, Tim Cook says it isn’t any of these things that will define Apple’s legacy, at least in terms of what people will consider to be the greatest contributor. As the CEO of the World’s Most Valuable Company, it’s fascinating to hear what he thinks Apple will be known for when people look back 20 or 50 years from now.
In an interview with Outside Magazine, Cook reiterated what he previously said about the most important contribution he believes Apple makes:
“I really think,” he adds, “that if you zoom into the future and then look back and ask,” What was Apple’s greatest contribution? “it will be in health and wellness.”
I think there is certainly a reason Apple did more to increase the amount of information people now have about their own wellbeing. A recent report by analyst Above Avalon suggests that there are now 100 million Apple Watch users and that 35 percent of Americans who own an iPhone also have an Apple Watch on their wrist.
The Apple Watch, in particular, has made it possible to keep track of all kinds of data in ways that were simply inaccessible before. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any other devices to track your fitness with, but there isn’t one that is built so deeply into the iPhone – a device that is used by more than 1 billion people today.
Additionally, Apple launched Fitness +, a subscription service that uses your Apple Watch to monitor your activity while you participate in video workouts. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you consider that most people have had to dramatically change their order and downtime routines at home, making this type of service so easily available is a clear win.
Few companies have the platform or the scales in place to move the health and wellbeing needle the way Apple can. The company has partnered with healthcare providers and researchers on everything from heart studies to detection of Covid-19 up to a week earlier.
After all, the data protection obligation may actually have as much to do with it as anything else. There’s something to be said for a company that has earned a reputation for protecting user data. This is not unimportant if you have a device that is constantly generating data about what you are doing and how your body is reacting.
It is certainly a worthwhile contribution to leverage this reputation and scale to give people a better understanding of their health and provide them with actionable information to do something about it.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.