Apple CEO thinks mHealth revenues will dwarf the $Trillion Smartphone market

MASSDevice Apple CEO mHealth

A fascinating MASSDevice article reports on an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

mHealth Insights

“CEO Tim Cook says that the healthcare market’s potential could dwarf the smartphone market that accounts for some 65% of Apple’s $234 billion in annual revenues”

Okay so we’ve heard Tim Cook’s enthusiasm for mHealth before (eg. does Tim Cook have plans to define this decade by making iPhone synonymous with mHealth, Neelie Kroes interviews Tim Cook at Startup Fest Europe, etc) but I think this is very important because it means everyone in the mobile industry now knows that the market leader is having another transition just as it did with the launch of the iPhone (a device that had a potential market that we know completely dwarfed the huge revenues that the company had been generating from the iPod and iTunes markets).

“The consumer electronics giant – which is rumored to be developing a stand-alone device to monitor heart rate, pulse, blood and sugar changes – has a significant advantage over medical device and drug manufacturers, Cook told”

To me this rumour is nonsensical and illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what how digital technologies converge (as Tomi Ahonen explains when they converge they converge to Mobile). Why would Apple want to make a stand alone device that didn’t double as an iPhone 7/8/9 that society already wants to carry? Why wouldn’t Apple want to utilise every last drop of the market leading trust it has established in the iPhone brand to help differentiate it’s mHealth device from all the me-too rivals that will be hot on its tails as it starts generating $Billions in profits from this new and largely untapped $Trillion market?

““When you look at most of the solutions, whether it’s devices, or things coming up out of Big Pharma, first and foremost, they are done to get the reimbursement [from an insurance provider]. Not thinking about what helps the patient. So if you don’t care about reimbursement, which we have the privilege of doing, that may even make the smartphone market look small,” he told the website”

It stuns me that so many VC backed disruptive ‘digital health’ startups think the objective is to prioritise the needs of insurers when it’s even clear to economists that this focus isn’t even in the short term interest of insurance companies. To help illustrate the point that talk is cheap consider that the International Diabetes Federation CEO called for mHealth to become an embedded compulsory part of how we provide quality care for diabetics 2 years ago at a BUPA mHealth event on the top of a London skyscraper and the organisation with 32 million customers still doesn’t provide mobile embedded glucometers to it’s Patients in 2016!

PS. This is something we try and help clients do in the consulting work we offer eg. the BornMobile Generation wouldn’t even begin to think about reimbursement when designing a healthcare experience.

““We’ve gotten into the health arena and we started looking at wellness, that took us to pulling a string to thinking about research, pulling that string a little further took us to some patient-care stuff, and that pulled a string that’s taking us into some other stuff,” he said

I think this is a great example of the potential for markets to open up when you take a outsider approach to them. Get some ideas by watching this talk I gave at a Clinical Trial Industry event earlier this year on the topic of what would happen if we took a Mobile First approach to designing Clinical Trials.

*** UPDATE MONDAY 15 August 2016 ***

An exciting outcome of this development is that medics can now feel comfortable about taking the financial decision to leave their  work as clerks for insurance companies and start earning their living in the mHealth market serving Patient needs directly. Unless of course this mHealth just amounts to $3T of snake oil!

Who will make a bigger dent in the universe Steve Jobs or Tim Cook

About David Doherty
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