WWDC 2023: Apple's mental, physical wellness push will have massive positive impact

Apple’s commitment to health and wellness demonstrated in new features and apps aims at keeping users safe and healthy.

| Updated on: Jun 07 2023, 15:44 IST
iOS 17 will transform your iPhone, make it like new! Check full list
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1/7 There is no need to buy a new iPhone every year. Instead, every year a new iOS update will transform your handset and make it like new. This year, iOS 17 will end up doing that. (Pexels)
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2/7 Sadly, many really old iPhone models will not get the iOS 17 update.  (Unsplash)
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3/7 So, if you own an iPhone 7, 1st-gen iPhone SE, or any earlier devices, it is certain that you won't be able to download iOS 17. (REUTERS)
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4/7 As per a MacWorld report, iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14 will be compatible with the iOS 17 update. (Unsplash)
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5/7 Some early leaks suggested that the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X may lose support for iOS 17. But, as per a tipster on MacRumors Forums, said all iPhones that support iOS 16 will get iOS 17. (Pexels)
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6/7 That means iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR are also on the list of those iPhones which will get the iOS 17. (Pexels)
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7/7 However, it just may be that the older iPhones may not be able to use a wide range of new features due to their old chipset and technology limitations. (Pixabay)
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Health is now available on the iPad for the first time via the iPadOS 17 operating software. (Apple)

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2023) commenced Monday with a keynote presentation from CEO Tim Cook that shook the technology world. Big announcements such as the launch of Vision Pro, the company's new AR/VR headset; a 15.3-inch MacBook Air; and the new M2 Ultra silicon chip, were just a few of the headline grabbers.

Another focus, however, that some may have overlooked, was Apple's commitment to health and wellness demonstrated in new features and applications aims at keeping users safe and healthy.

From safeguarding our eyes to improving mental wellness, let's take a look at some of the biggest health takeaways from this year's WWDC 2023.

Health app now available on iPadOS

Health, the popular app Apple introduced back in 2014 to help iPhone users centralize their health information in one place, is now available on the iPad for the first time via the iPadOS 17 operating software.

The app has been designed to take advantage of the larger screen of the iPad to show health details in one shot. Now, with synced health data, a user can monitor his/her health information from an iPad, an iPhone, Apple Watch, as well as being compatible with third party apps and devices.

With Health, users can monitor their activity, keep track of medications, and view trends and highlights via detailed interactive charts. In addition, developers can take advantage of HealthKit to build innovative health and fitness experiences for app buyers.

Apple WatchOS 10 for Cyclists and Hikers

Apple Watch, with its spanking new version of its WatchOS 10 operating system that was revealed on Monday, also had several surprises for health and fitness enthusiasts.

Apart from brightening up the Apple Watch interface with designs of beloved Peanuts characters Snoopy and Woodstock, the tech giant also revealed some compelling updates for cyclists who use the timepiece. The device is already quite useful for cyclists, with features such as automatic workout reminders, calorimetry for e-biking, and Fall Detection. Now, the watch can also connect to Bluetooth-enabled bicycle sensors.

Using power, heart rate, and motion data, the watch will now estimate the user's Functional Threshold Power (FTP), which is the highest level of cycling intensity that the user can theoretically maintain for an hour. And by taking a percentage of the FTP, they will provide power zones to track performance better.

There is also a new feature that works by being paired with an iPhone, which will automatically show live activity from the watch on the home screen. Tapping the activity on the iPhone will open the whole display, showing heart rate zones, elevation, current and maximum speed, and distance.

WatchOS 10 is also updating its Compass and Maps feature to help hikers and bikers navigate safely.

Mental Health

Mental health is an area that Apple highlighted a lot on Monday, keeping with the growing trend of being more mindful at home and in the workplace.

The Apple Watch's Mindfulness app will now allow users to log their emotions and daily moods in a discreet and easy way. The digital crown on the device lets users scroll through several colorful shapes to identify what they are feeling like. This app is also available for iPad and iPhone, and it comes with insights and statistics based on lifestyle markers like sleep and exercise.

Another useful update, users who want to delve deeper into understanding their own mental health can now leverage Apple's Health app to take standardized assessments used in clinics to answer questions about how they feel and identify their current risk for depression or anxiety. The user can share the results with healthcare professionals too.

Apple has also kept social isolation in mind with its new Vision Pro headset via a feature called EyeSight, which allows other people in the room to see the headset user's eyes while they interact in virtual or augmented reality environments. The feature had been much talked about in the Apple rumor mill ahead of its launch, with consumers wondering how it would look and work. Its elegant, transparent design ensures that users aren't completely cut off from others while having an immersive experience, a concern that Apple's Cook had previously expressed concern for.

Vision Health

Another area Apple has decided to innovate is vision health, specifically myopia, or nearsightedness -- a condition which impacts 27% of the world's population, according to the United States National Institute of Health (NIH).

Since, spending time outdoors in daylight can reduce chances of developing myopia, Apple Watch 10 now offers a feature to measure the time spent in daylight using an ambient light sensor, which the user can view in the Health app. This feature is mainly for parents who want to ensure that their children are getting enough daylight.

Also keeping in mind that the distance from a device or book to a person's face can affect the onset of myopia, Apple is introducing Screen Distance, a feature which monitors the distance a child is holding a device from his/her eyes. If they get too close, the device suggests holding it further away. Something adults can make good use of as well.

The WWDC keynote was as much about health as it was about innovation and technology. By talking about using their software and devices in a responsible and healthier way, while also adding apps and features to help users track their mental health and physical well-being, it's clear that health is becoming more important to technology consumers.

These updates and features from the Cupertino, California company could start the wagon rolling in the right direction, encouraging more big techs to make health a high priority for their consumers.

By Navanwita Sachdev, The Tech Panda

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First Published Date: 06 Jun, 08:25 IST
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