It's all been happening in the realm of the connected self this week. Withings returned with the Steel HR Sport, the Apple Watch Series 4 went on sale, and Huami launched three new wearables: the Xiaomi Mi Band 3, Amazfit Verge smartwatch, and the Health Band 1S.
Audible comes to the Apple Watch
With the arrival of watchOS 5, Apple’s official podcast app finally arrives on its smartwatch. Even better, Audible has just release a new app for the Apple Watch that will let you listen to audiobooks when away from your phone.
To make use of the new app, released for watchOS 5, you first need to sync your Audible titles from the iPoe to the Watch, then simply pair your Bluetooth headphones and - voila - you can now listen to your latest juicy crime novel right from your wrist.
Life insurance company gives points for wearable use
Insurance company John Hancock has announced that going forward, it will only sell life insurance policies which track customer health data via wearables. While policyholders aren’t forced to wear a Fitbit or share their data, the new Vitality program will incentivize all customers to share their data and to get fit with rewards for smashing goals, including Amazon gift cards or discount on fitness trackers.
But sharing your health data also means the possibility of lower premiums, which will surely appeal to consumers, while the company will receive more premiums if those customers live longer. If that all sounds a bit Airstrip One, well, that’s because it is. This is unprecedented ground, and there’s obviously a question over what other things companies like this can do with insurance policies when they have all that lovely data.
Apple Watch Series 4’s FDA clearance a close shave
ECG functionality is the big story of the Apple Watch Series 4, but according to a report it very nearly didn’t happen. Fast Company claims that the new health feature didn’t receive FDA clearance until the 11th hour. Had it not happened, things could have ended very differently. Here’s the bit:
Some on the Apple Watch team may have felt their hearts pounding in the days leading up to the big Apple Watch 4 unveiling in Cupertino last week. The new watch’s marquee health feature–an electrocardiogram–had not received a Food and Drug Administration clearance until within 24 hours of the device’s big coming-out.
I overheard an Apple employee talking about the near-miss in exasperated tones outside the Steve Jobs Theater just after the press event. I understood the man’s anxiety better when I saw that the FDA’s classification letters to Apple were dated September 11. Apple’s event was September 12.