The Apple Watch Series 7 was announced at the hotly anticipated California Streaming event, boasting faster charging, larger screen real estate, a brighter screen and better durability, but absent are significant, innovative health-tech upgrades.
The Watch Series 7 has an ECG app, which can record your heartbeat and rhythm; there’s also a blood-oxygen sensor. However, the former feature has been around since the 4th-Gen watch and the latter was introduced with the Series 6. If Apple’s health-tech innovation seems a little sluggish, it’s not just you. In fact, Business Insider just released a scathing report that the Apple Health division is allegedly in shambles.
Apple’s health-tech progress reportedly hindered by internal clashing
“If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’ It will be about health,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told Mad Money host Jim Cramer in 2019.
However, behind the smoke and mirrors of Cook’s bold, grandiose statement, there is a lot of productivity-hindering headbutting going on that is throwing a wrench in Apple’s ambitious health-tech plans.
Insider got the scoop from 11 former and current Apple employees. They spilled shocking allegations about Cupertino-based tech giant’s company culture. The consensus among the employees is that the higher-ups at Apple are too insular to consider dissenting opinions, and in many cases, staff members are fired for going against the grain. One employee claimed that HR refused to help.
“If people aren’t comfortable telling execs this isn’t going as planned, this is not what we thought it was going to be, what does that say about the quality of the products that are on the market and that are expected to be on the market?” one of the former employees told Insider.
As Insider revealed in August, Apple was working on an project called HealthHabit (a service meant to link patients with doctors on devices), but it recently got scrapped due to internal clashing, senior-level departures and unclear blueprints. Apple reportedly has a “flat organizational structure.” In other words, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams oversees Apple Health, but there are various other bosses as well, which stymies the company’s ability to set a unified strategy.
“We didn’t have this visionary leader who has the power to actually go and drive the team towards a singular goal,” one of the former employees told Insider.
This disorder spilled into the Apple Watch team. A group inside Apple had dreams of releasing a subscription-based health service that lets physicians take advantage of their patients’ Apple Watch data. As such, Apple launched clinics in 2018, using employees as guinea pigs, if you will, to discover ways in which its tech can be applied to healthcare.
To be succinct, many of the clinical staff who worked on the Apple Watch felt discouraged. Most of the features that hit the market were introduced by engineers, not medical experts. The clinical staff hoped to make the Apple Watch more “medical,” but instead, Apple opted for features that are designed for consumers (not patients seeking modern health tech).
It’s worth noting that Apple denies these reports. Apple’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications Fred Sainz said the employees’ assertions are “based on incomplete, outdated, and inaccurate information.” Sainz also added that all allegations of retaliatory behavior are thoroughly investigated and managed with appropriate, punitive actions.