I know I should be writing about those new Apple [AAPL] iPhones and those dubious images rumor sites are making so much money with as they publish them. What's terribly sad is as they fetishize the iPhone as an object they completely miss its significance as solution, and that’s what I am going to talk about -- three ways the new iPhones are about to change lives.
[ABOVE: An iPad used during liver surgery. Because PCs are trucks.]
The kind of innovation you are about to see in this sector is going to hit hyperdrive in the coming year: there's millions, literally millions of dollars in investment flooding into this sector.
It was only yesterday news broke of a ground-breaking moment in medical science when a doctor performed a life-saving liver cancer surgery using a specially-developed 3D imaging app and an iPad…("iPads are not computers," you say? How wrong can you be?)
This is only one of a huge range of innovation taking place in the medical field. You see, professionals from that field are already using mobile devices for much of their administrative duty, but now they want to figure out how to use them when making diagnosis, surgery and other medical intervention.
"More and more care will be delivered outside hospitals and clinics," Ovum's lead Healthcare & Life Sciences analyst, Charlotte Davies told me. "This means mobile devices -- from smartphones to monitoring devices -- will become increasingly important as the number of patients cared for at home or in sheltered accommodation or other community centers increases."
The new iPhones will offer several key enhancements to improve their potential within healthcare:
- Built-in sensors that can be used for activity tracking will be enhanced.
- The more affordable iPhone model will widen the potential audience for health-focused app-based mobile solutions.
- Apple's focus on developing markets brings its devices into geographies which are already widely embracing mobile healthcare solutions.
The new iPhones (and the iPads which follow them) will hasten a move to match mobile with medical. Meanwhile here's two really rather interesting ways iPhones are already being used in this field:
- TactioDiabetes is an iPhone app that works in conjunction with the TactioHealth system and lets doctors remotely monitor diabetic patients -- remote monitoring of this condition could save up to $200 billion each year.
- Janet Blank, 65, used an iPad to distract her during knee replacement surgery, which enabled her to take a local anesthetic rather than be sedated. She underwent surgery while fully aware of the sounds and the smells around her.
- Oh and here's a doctor taking about using an iPad in surgery…in 2011. And please don't tell me Android devices can do this -- they can, but do you really want your personal medical records to be made available to the world's least secure mobile operating system? I don't.
Do you really think you've seen the end of Passbook? Where you listening when I explained its future significance as part of a payment system? Have you thought about the incremental path Apple has been taking to create such a system?
The bad news is I don't expect payments as a mass-market service to be on Apple's road map in the next year. Though I could be wrong.
I know other phones do offer this, but who really uses it? The numbers are in and they say that at present payments via mobile phones (while buoyed a little by certain special events) haven't really hit the big time -- who, after all, has any money in the first place, other than the politicians, bankers and a smattering of corporate types? No. Apple's not going to give you payments with those fingerprint sensors, at least not yet. Most people don’t want it. (The ones that do tend to be outspoken of course, but who pays them?)
Apple is going to give you identity.
You see, when you travel you need to jump through hoops to prove you are who you say you are, and while I know passports aren't about to disappear, your air tickets, gig tickets, travel tickets are about to become even more secure, because of Passbook and the fingerprint sensor on your iPhone.
This is going to have a big impact on tourism markets, not least because the phones are likely to support more networks and be made available via more carriers. Then think on the impact for access to clubs and bars, age verification, and so on -- the fact that the device only works with your fingerprint makes it a tool with which to prove your identity.
To be honest, all of this is a continuation of the kind of impact these devices are already having on the tourism and travel industries. That's even before you ponder the impact on social networks and communication of these digital devices.
Apple is the enterprise
If you ignore meaningless statistics (just like George Bush) then you'll probably ignore all the evidence that shows that when it comes to mobile devices, Apple dominates the enterprise. The new iPhones are only going to consolidate that commanding position, for a series of reasons:
Better for business. Talked about it here.
A private messaging system Apple recently revealed is more secure than you get with BlackBerry.
Biometric security for enterprise assets in combination with easy to apply security upgrades across a non-fragmented OS? That's got to be attractive, right?
Find My iPhone
A handy feature Apple is improving. Android introduced it last month. Innovation.
Fast processors and cloud-based Office equivalents? Office 365? Seems to me the iDevices get more enterprise capable by the day.
Sure, I've read plenty of reports from various firms with a vested interest in standing up against Apple in which they claim Apple's devices aren't suitable for the enterprise; I've read many more that claim the opposite, so let's look to IDC:
"Combining sales to business, government and education customers, iPhone holds a 62.5% share of the U.S. commercial market based on the latest quarterly data published by IDC." (Seeking Alpha)
I may have skipped a few other reasons Apple's iPhone with iOS 7 will make a serious play for the enterprise, but there is one more: if the company does introduce a lower cost model, them cash-conscious CIO's and CTO's will be buying them for a wider reach of staff, extending Apple's reach in this space.
What happens when work goes mobile? People go mobile.
35 years is a long time in tech
So how will the new iPhone change your life? Well, for many it won't -- there's millions who don't even have a phone; millions more who have one but don't care too much for it; millions who ended up with a phone called "smart" that wasn't and they're waiting to upgrade. These changes won't be for any of them: but for those who do, you'll see it.
In the end of course none of this is about iPhones. It's about the continuous evolution of our Post-PC culture. PCs are trucks and this is becoming increasingly inarguable. The infestation of everyday life with connected switched on sensor-equipped gadgets is becoming inexorable. That's kind of why I consider security so important (as should anyone post-PRISM).
These devices are disrupting industries everywhere, changing our conscious reality experiences.
It seems strange to think that it was only 36-years ago when Apple introduced the Apple II. It will be interesting to see just how much more impact technology will have on the way we live in 35-years time, when Bradley Manning is released. It could be a whole new world: Hopefully a world without torture in it.
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