I know, I’m sick of the Apple tablet rumor mill as well, but I couldn’t let this story slide by. It even brought me back to blog for a day, breaking my 3 month blog hiatus while I work on my Y Combinator startup.
While the whole tech news world sits around waiting to see what the official deal with the Apple tablet is and if anyone is going to buy this thing, Apple has been quietly ensuring the instant success of their tablet device. How? Apple has been going around targeting their first major paying customer for the device, which is not the average consumer, but the Healthcare industry (sorry fan bois, you’re not first priority here). This is a move widely overlooked by the media, since Apple has generally tried to own the consumer arena, and besides the film industry, hasn’t dominated enterprise. Well, now that they own the music, mobile, laptop and every teenager market, the medical industry is the next up to take over. [What’s my intel? My Dad plays golf with Cedas-Sanai hospital execs, who say they have been getting frequent visits from Apple about a new device in the last 6 weeks].
Let’s talk this out. First, this makes perfect sense. The iPhone has already served as a great platform for medical applications. Companies like LifeScan have an app for users with Diabetes. Epocrates is another medical app which let’s doctors view continually updated clinical data, check for drug-drug interaction, identify pills by physical characteristics and perform medical calculations such as BMI and GRF (pictured*). Then we have iChart, a “personal medical assistant,” which stores everything from patient data to charts and lists of medications in a streamlined, organized fashion (oh, and it regularly updates with new medical data pulled from healthcare networks). The problem with the iPhone is that it is too small to handle all of this data, not from a processor standpoint but just overall screen size. The tablet can pave a whole new way for medical applications and the way we interact with our doctors. You can certainly bet the iPhone will interact very well with the tablet, so syncing information back and forth with your doctor via both devices should be a breeze.
Second, there is already a huge market here with real competitors (not just a Microsoft Courier). In 2007, a company called Motion Computing Inc. launched a product called C5, a tablet computer for doctors that claimed to eliminate the clipboard, scanner and cart-mounted computer on wheels often used in hospitals today. The product is widely used today, but it’s dated, weighs over 3 pounds and sells for $2199. Even at the highest speculated price, Apple’s tablet will cost only $1000.
Third, Obama. The President is on Apple’s side here with this one. He has made electronic record-keeping a key feature of his health-care reform effort (hint hint). Electronic records available through Apple’s tablet will save time, mistakes and lives.
Come on. Did you really think Steve Jobs was going to make a grand comeback just so you could play Doodle Jump on a 10 inch screen? Also, Joe Wilcox of Beta News, yes the world IS ready for a tablet.