Apple held its ‘Loop You In’ town hall in Cupertino today, and amid the often-inane product announcements (Apple Watch now comes with nylon bands!) was a tidbit developers may find interesting.
The company is launching a new platform for building healthcare apps, called CareKit. The open-source platform, available in April, will allow developers to take advantage of iOS devices’ cameras and sensors to create apps that monitor patients’ symptoms, suggest treatment, and more.
The first app developed on the platform, aimed at improving treatment for Parkinson’s disease, was released today and will be used by leading healthcare institutions like UCSF and Johns Hopkins. Other applications could include hastening recovery after surgery by having patients use their phones to check off steps in a care plan, measure their vital signs, then send that information off to a doctor who can adjust treatment on the fly.
CareKit is an extension of Apple’s existing ResearchKit project, which uses iOS devices in large-scale studies of conditions like diabetes and epilepsy.
Other takeaways from the event:
- Apple continues to chase the Surface market with a new, smaller iPad Pro. Marketed as “the ultimate PC replacement,” the new 9.7-inch Pro comes in several storage sizes, including a $900 256GB version. It smart keyboard works with iOS 9, it works with the Surface-like Pencil, and its new features seem aimed at the artists and designers who tend to gravitate toward Apple products: a better camera and more color-rich display that adjusts to ambient light.
- The company’s also going smaller with phones. It announced the iPhone SE—basically an iPhone 6S rolled into a four-inch package.
- iOS 9.3 rolls out today. It includes password protection for Notes, the note-taking app, and…that’s about all we can think of to say about it.
All in all, a less-than-thrilling event from Apple. Even CEO Tim Cook seemed like he was having trouble staying awake by the end. But the CareKit platform could pave the way for some innovative projects.