- Apple on Tuesday unveiled three health research studies that aim to examine women's health, the relationship between movement and heart health and how everyday sound exposure impacts hearing.
- The studies, to be organized through a new Apple Research app this fall, are being conducted in partnership with various universities, hospitals, associations and the government.
- The move further into health research by Apple builds on its Apple Heart Study, which tracked more than 400,000 people to see whether the Apple Watch's irregular pulse notification could identify atrial fibrillation or flutter.
The technology giant also announced it would be launching its menstrual Cycle Tracking app and ambient sound detection Noise app alongside watchOS 6. Although details on the three studies, such as research design, are light, Apple's move into further healthcare echoes other efforts by digital health companies, such as Fitbit.
In women's health, Apple is partnering with the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. The study will focus on menstrual cycles and gynecological conditions, such as the risk of polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, osteoporosis, pregnancy and menopausal transition.
"This is an exciting opportunity for NIEHS researchers to contribute to the study design and use the resulting data to answer novel questions, not only important to women of reproductive age, but to women of all ages," said Dale Sandler, chief of the NIEHS epidemiology branch.
Apple is partnering with the University of Michigan to study how day-to-day sound can impact hearing health. The study will eventually inform the World Health Organization's Make Listening Safe initiative, according to Apple.
The last study, which will focus on how heart rate and mobility signals associate with hospitalization, falls and cardiovascular health, is being conducted with the American Heart Association and the Brigham and Women's Hospital.
It appears Apple is gearing up to use the data for future additions to its health offerings included in its product lines. Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said the three studies will represent engagement "on a larger scale than ever before."