Apple updates product line with big screen size and diversifies into medical device market

The latest update of its product line is more in the nature of a transitional update rather than transformational one.

In an attempt aimed at getting more consumers to upgrade to its latest and more expensive products, Apple has unveiled its biggest iPhone to day; it has also launch a watch that detects heart problems.

The relatively small changes in its lineup were widely expected by investors, as a result the company’s shares were down by 1.2% to $221.07.

Apple’s strategy has worked brilliantly, with its share prices appreciating by more than 30% this year; it also became the first publicly traded U.S. company to hit a market valuation of more than $1 trillion.

Apple’s new iPhone XS, pronounced as “ten S,” features a 14.7 cm (5.8-inch) screen and will have a starting price of $999; its XS Max, is the biggest smartphone on the market and has a screen size of 16.5 cm (6.5 inch) will have a starting price of $1,099.

“They have finally added a larger-screen phone so that they can directly compete with the Galaxy Note9 products,” said Annette Zimmermann, an analyst at Gartner. “The larger screen will be very important in China to turn around the trend there, because they have lost some share in the last few years, partly because of screen size”.

Apple has also launched the iPhone XR featuring a screen size of 15.5 cm (6.1-inch) made of aluminum, with a starting price of $749.

Its latest lineup is more expensive than those it launched last year.

MEDICAL MARKET

In a strategic move aimed at reducing its dependence of revenues from its phones, which represents more than 60% of its revenues, Apple launched its new Apple Watch Series 4 which can also be used as a medical device.

Featuring an edge to edge display, the Apple Watch Series 4 can take an electrocardiogram to detect an irregular heartbeat; on detection it can automatically call an emergency number if it detects that the user has fallen down. This feature is likely to appeal to the elderly.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated, it has worked with Apple to develop apps for the Apple Watch. It has also taken steps to ease the regulatory process for companies wanting to develop healthcare apps compatible with the Apple Watch Series 4.

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 6.1 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation, a heart disease involving irregular heart rhythm. The Apple Watch Series 4 can offer an early warning to such a condition. The number of people suffering from atrial fibrillation is expected to double by 2050said the American Heart Association.

“This does have a lot of potential for patients,” said Dr. Michael Valentine, president of the American College of Cardiology and a cardiologist at Central Health in Lynchburg, Virginia. “Clinicians face patients every day with palpitations, rapid heart rates, and other symptoms,” and the doctors want a more portable monitoring and recording system.

However, according to Joanne Wuensch, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, it is unlikely that physicians would make medical treatment decisions based on the data from the watch; however, the watch is likely to encourage patients to see cardiologists.

“This update really establishes the company’s increasing efforts to push the watch as a serious medical device,” said healthcare technology analyst Ross Muken from Evercore.

With the launch of the Series 4 watch, shares of Fitbit Inc fell by 6.9% on Wednesday.

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