#Apple Keynote from a #blind #Blogger Perspective

This post breaks away from my normal post as it will focus on the Apple Keynote today. While I am a Apple fanboy, today’s address awed me for reasons greater than shiny new Apple products. Rather it showcased how technologies will continue to evolve into every aspect of our lives and connect each of us together. Here is a quick recap, before this post hones in on just two of these:

  • Price reduction of the AppleTV to $69
  • The Apple Watch
  • A 12 inch Macbook with a full keyboard
  • Apple Research Kit

The remainder of this post will focus on why the Apple Watch and Research Kit inspired me.

For years now, tech bloggers and rumor mills discussed the iWatch. At first no one had a clue, but slowly we learned about its many features that basically makes it an extension of the iPhone. As with all introductions to new devices and technologies, nothing is dropped on us like a bond, but rather eased into our lives. Related to the Apple Watch, this occurred through the introduction of the Health kit and the health and fitness sensors on the iPhone 5S, and handoff or continuity between iOS 8 and OS 10.10. Based on this, nothing jumps out as brand new, rather one receives a polite message that indicates we now have a new method to consume media and become healthier.

However, this is not why I will elect to purchase an Apple Watch. Many of the features indicated in the Keynote I am able to perform through a bluetooth headset, or simply spending the 10 seconds taking out my iPhone. Rather, the Apple Watch represents the next stage in the evolution of wearables retaining to the Internet of Things and fitness. Based on many of the reviews and rumors about the future of the Apple Watch, this device stands to control your home or car, indicate an incoming Uber ride, or receive alerts from BlindSquare. Related to my health and fitness goals, the Apple Watch promotes activity. For example, running 3 miles in the morning and remaining stationary for the rest of the day at work, school, and/or home means you live a sedentary lifestyle. A truly active and healthy lifestyle means you aim for 10,000 steps per day, that are spread out throughout the entire day. Running an extremely long distance just means you can run, but fitness is slightly different. I am looking forwards to the activity reminder, heart rate monitor, and Dick Tracy style phone.

What blind tech geek would not love these features, and this is only the start.

Looking at Research Kit, the panel of scientists, doctors, and researchers sold me with their pitch. Just stepping into this wide world of health and medical research during this first year pursuing a PhD, collecting data remains difficult at best for even the simplest objectives. Now this will change with Research Kit enabling those from the research community to your doctors to receive your input to further the world’s understanding of health and medical conditions. Organizations like Mayo already started to look at connecting ones electronic medical record to your iPhone to collect data on your vitals and fitness statistics thanks to Health, so why not take this a step further and allow people to volunteer for studies through similar processes. This is not all that new for a private technology firm to take this stance. Google purchased 23&Me to advance the human genome project. Apple just desires connect people with researchers. This has the potential to increase participation rates, lower research overhead tied to recruiting participants, and truly address global health disparities.