Apple HealthKit and ResearchKit

One of my longstanding criticisms of Apple corporate has been its lack of philanthropy. I am delighted, and have a very warm and fuzzy feeling inside, after the Apple Live event of 9 March 2015 that HealthKit and ResearchKit are doing something to redress the balance.

Apple stated that nearly a thousand apps for iOS were already helping people manage their health, and that is good to know, and very encouraging.

But the announcement of an open source software framework to support medical research, ResearchKit, is a startling and very exciting step forward which rates as philanthropy. Coupled with HealthKit and the sensor support already available, and that coming next month in the Apple Watch, this is something quite distinct and remarkable.

Already, key research centres including my alma mater, the University of Oxford, Massachusetts General Hospital, and nine other centres of excellence, have been using ResearchKit to build apps to support research on major diseases. Apple cited an example, mPower, being used by those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. Others target breast cancer, diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.

I accept that this has obvious marketing benefits, but for once Apple’s efforts are clearly for the good of humanity as a whole.