Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tim Cook talks health and more in Fortune interview →

Tim sat down for an interview with Adam Lashinsky from Fortune to discuss how Apple changes the world. There are so many amazing things in this interview, but Tim’s Health Care comments are what caught my attention most.

Tim on health:

We’re extremely interested in this area. And, yes, it is a business opportunity. If you look at it, medical health activity is the largest or second-largest component of the economy, depending on which country in the world you’re dealing with. And it hasn’t been constructed in a way where the focus at the device level is making great products from a pure point of view. The focus has been on making products that can get reimbursed through the insurance companies, through Medicare, or through Medicaid. And so in some ways we bring a totally fresh view into this and say, ‘Forget all of that. What will help people?’

This rings so true, working in Healthcare IT. So many end-user healthcare devices are pieces of crap, reminiscent of “feature phones” pre-iPhone. Apple would walk right in, dominate this market, and save lives in the process. Just thinking of the possibilities with their ecosystem in this space is extremely exciting.

Tim on where this takes Apple:

We put out ResearchKit [a software developers tool] and made it a source so that people could run enormous-sized studies. And there have been studies in Parkinson’s and so forth that literally are the largest studies ever in the history of the world. And we’re just scratching the surface right now. There’s no business model there. Honestly, we don’t make any money on that. But it was something that we thought would be good for society and so we did it. Will it eventually lead us somewhere? We’ll find out. I can’t answer that today.

I think it’s only a matter of time before Apple enters the Health Care business in some capacity — even with an FDA-certified Apple Watch to test the waters (e.g. a Medical Series Watch).

For more on how I think Apple can help, read Part I of ‘An Apple A Day’ — my series on Apple’s growing Healthcare ambitions.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Apple's focus on 'autonomous systems' →

Tim Cook’s interview with Bloomberg made news today, as he confirmed Apple’s work on autonomous systems, including relation to software for autonomous cars.

We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook said in a June 5 interview on Bloomberg Television that amounted to his most detailed comments yet on Apple’s automotive plans. “It’s a core technology that we view as very important.” He likened the effort to “the mother of all AI projects,” saying it’s “probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.”

Foot in the Door

Apple’s car project, ‘Project Titan’, had been reportedly scaled back from a full-on car to the underlying software, as this interview seems to confirm. However, Tim calls attention to three shifts involving the car market:

  • Electric cars
  • Automated driving
  • Ride sharing

That said, Tim didn’t rule out the idea that Apple will eventually create its own car one day, but he was very selective in his wording. Maybe Apple thinks software is its foot in the door to the car market. After years and years of being plagued by half-assed ‘infotainment’ systems, auto makers are just now starting to fully adopt technologies like Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto), letting your phone take over all the fun stuff. After owning a car with CarPlay for a few weeks, I can’t get over how great of an experience it is over my wife’s car (sorry, honey). I can’t go back after this.

Now imagine your whole vehicle being controlled by Apple’s code and custom silicon. What if they could reach car automation nirvana, where cars that fit all the shifts described above could talk to each other, coordinate, and learn? Cars with intelligent stopping features are already responsible for saving lives. Imagine what we could do if they communicated with each other. 1

Apple Watch’s Role

Tim has said before that he wants Apple Watch to replace your car keys. I foresee them only being able to do this if they own the code and silicon within the vehicle. Apple-written code and silicon could provide an order of magnitude greater authentication system between a car/Apple Watch than integration with current car computers. As everyone should know, if you want digital security and privacy, you get an Apple product. Now apply that to a car.

Beyond the Car

Apple’s made some interesting moves in the realm of automation, lately. Of note:

These moves are definitely intriguing. With Apple’s work on Machine Learning and the introduction of CoreML3 for developers, I believe Machine Learning and automation are directly related. An AI-specific chip also sounds like something right out of their silicon playbook.

Machine Learning can (and is) being applied to a multitude of areas, and Siri is the friendly interface for the intensive work behind the scenes. In fact, Machine Learning is becoming a standard feature. This is illustrated in the new HomePod, as Craig Federighi described on his ‘The Talk Show’ appearance. To be more specific, HomePod and your other Apple devices intelligently vote on which one should respond to ‘Hey, Siri’. Also, on the new Face-sync feature: all of your Apple devices will independently and intelligently come to the same conclusion on which faces are associated to which person–and this is all done on-device, as opposed to the cloud.

As for why Tim would bring this up now, I think it’s because Apple has nothing to lose. Even if the software part of the car project never comes to fruition, they don’t lose anything, whereas their automation and Machine Learning features are starting to become standard and a very important part of what’s coming next.


  1. I, for one, welcome our autonomous driving overlords. 
  2. Workflow is such an awesome app. You should check it out and just play around with it. 
  3. Allows developers to access Apple’s Machine Learning algorithms, even with minimal code. Along with ARKit, this is one of the biggest announcements developers are excited about. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tim Cook interview with MIT Technology Review →

Tim Cook:

When technological advancement can go up so exponentially I do think there’s a risk of losing sight of the fact that tech should serve humanity, not the other way around.

Well said. The article also touches on MIT’s research into the early prediction of depression based on phone usage—a very interesting, if short read.