Tim Cook says that improving people's health will be 'Apple's greatest contribution to mankind'
- Apple needs to release new products to continue growing.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook said that health could be an area where Apple makes a big play in an interview with CNBC.
- "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," he said.
Apple may be best known for the iPhone, but it's spending over $1 billion per month on research and development to develop new products that could enable its customer base (and revenue) to grow once more.
On Tuesday, Apple CEO hinted again in an interview with CNBC that he thinks Apple's biggest long-term project is to break into consumer health.In fact, looking back from the future, Cook said, Apple's "greatest contribution" won't be the iPod, or the iPhone, but rather its health technology.
"On the healthcare, in particular, and sorta your well-being, this is an area that I believe, 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.
"Because our business has always been about enriching people's lives. And as we've gotten into healthcare more and more through the Watch and through other things that we've created with ResearchKit and CareKit and putting your medical records on the iPhone, this is a huge deal."
Obviously, health is not the only new product being developed in Apple's labs. It's working on a pair of smart glasses, and Cook said that he expected Apple to launch a new service this year, which observers expect to be a streaming music or magazine subscription.
But it's clear that health, and its challenges therein, get Cook excited. That's could be because healthcare is one of the few new markets that's big enough to move the needle for Apple. According to the federal government, $3.5 trillion was spent on healthcare in the United States in 2017. If Apple secured even a small fraction of that spending, that could still be a potentially huge new revenue stream for the company.
So far, Apple has focused on software in the health world. As Cook mentioned, Apple has already developed new software to perform clinical studies in a research environment, and it's made apps and other software to enable highly-regulated medical records to be stored and shared from an iPhone.
Apple has also slowly brought its Apple Watch device into the medical world. The latest version of the Apple Watch can take an ECG reading, which is the kind of test a heart doctor uses to diagnose patients with certain conditions. It can also alert users if it looks like they have an irregular heartbeat.
But those products and services aren't enough to be "Apple's greatest contribution to mankind," as Cook said. Whatever Apple is planning for its health teams, it's going to be big.
"We're just at the front end of this," Cook said.