The ex-Apple [AAPL] employee network continues to extend its reach. Most recently, Apple's iCloud product manager, John Herbold, quit Cupertino to create digital products designed to boost health. What kind of apps might he help create?
Making healthy cool
A little more background. In a release, HealthTeacher tells us Herbold "led the development and marketing of Photo Stream" as well as product managing iCloud and developing iPad and iPhone apps for Apple. Before that he was a Senior Product Manager on Apple's MobileMe team.
Herbold reckons his challenge will be to: "Create engaging and innovative experiences that make good health cool and aspirational -- all while encouraging kids to move beyond the screen and be more active."
He's passionate about this. Lifestyle changes can save lives, 90 percent of heart disease is preventable, he argues. Writing on his blog, he points to an article by Dr. Dean Ornish, the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, who wrote:
"... simple choices that we make in our lifestyle -- what we eat, how we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, how much exercise we get, and the quality of our relationships and social support -- can be as powerful as drugs and surgery..."
You have to wish the ex-Apple product manager luck on a mission like that. Meanwhile, it's never to late to start getting healthier too.
Taking health with the 'i'
Here's six iPad apps which might make it a little easier (even without the Nike+ system -- health doesn't necessarily require new running shoes).
Fitness Free HD (free)
Over 700 exercises with photo and text instructions. Features include 50 yoga exercises, three workouts, logging and training tools and a stop-watch timer. The great thing? This selection of exercises is aimed at people who may need to get started getting back to fitness, so you are less likely to hurt yourself while trying to become more healthy.
Pocket Yoga HD ($2.99)
Some laugh at Yoga. Many do not. At once both simple and incredibly challenging, Yoga is a fantastic discipline for keeping yourself in shape and supple. Pocket Yoga HD helps you do it, featuring 145 illustrated poses, logging, reminder, music and TV playback tools.
MyNetDiary -- Food and Exercise Diary for iPad ($9.99)
"You don't need diet pills or silly fads. You need a natural diet plan that works," the MyNetDiary site states. That sounds about right. This lets you keep track of what you're eating, what exercise you take, even how much water you get down your neck. Don't forget, you need to lose 3,500 calories to lose one pound in weight (apparently). (Also take a look at the free Snack App).
Easy Stop Smoking HD ($4.99)
Now for the big one -- the single best thing you can do for your health if you are a smoker is to quit the habit. This app gives you a little smoking cessation hypnosis, and lots of advice to help you through. It's tough, but good luck.
Everyday Health (free)
Exercise is part of the equation. Diet and calorie control another. Quitting smoking and keeping an eye on drinking are also proven ways to keep fit. Even the healthiest people get a sick sometimes, and when they do, it's good to have a relatively trustworthy source of health information. This app will guide you through the symptoms of the top 50 health conditions.
White Noise Pro ($2.99)
Believe it or not, one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is make sure you get a good night's sleep! White Noise Pro creates ambient sounds to help. Sometimes a little chilled-out background noise is all it takes to calm a stressed-out insomniac attempting to get some rest before that 6am meeting. (You might want to use this in conjunction with the free iDream Dictionary, for those dream interpretations).
One more thing
Of course, all these apps, worthy as they are, could be seen as a little lacking in terms of immersive two-way engagement. Where's the call and response of the Wii's dancing games? Health should be fun, right?
But with Apple prepping AirPlay video within iOS 5 and lots of speculation as to the future Apple television and Apple TV, perhaps Herbold's quit the company just in time to create a new generation of "better than Wii" hugely engaging, family-focused fitness apps, equipped with Facetime video communication and social networking tools.
Who knows, Yoga might become a game all the family can play -- personal fitness could perhaps become an intra-family competitive sport!