Apple doesn’t usually reveal its secrets. Like Las Vegas, what happens in Cupertino stays in Cupertino. However, in light of the recent Apple Watch launch, the company seems to be going out of its way to show off hand-picked journalists where and how the Watch was designed and tested. The most recent invitee was Good Morning America from ABC, and Apple showed off the gym where it tested the health and fitness powers of the Watch.
“The employees knew they were testing something, but they didn’t know it was for the Apple Watch.”
Apple only tested the top-secret device on internal employees, but even so, the company hid the Watch from view and did not tell the testers why they were doing all that exercise. Employees ran, did yoga, rowed, and performed a number of other workout activities, while wearing a masked Apple Watch, masks, and other high-tech equipment.
“[The employees] knew they were testing something, but they didn’t know it was for the Apple Watch,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations told the reporter. “We hooked them up with all the masks and so forth, but we would put on an Apple Watch covered up.”
To make sure that the Watch will measure metrics like calories burned, heart rate, and so on accurately in any conditions, Apple set up chambers that mimic the conditions Apple Watch wearers would experience in different countries around the world. The chambers would copy atmospheric conditions, altitude, temperature, humidity, and so on.
Jay Blahnik Director of Fitness and Health technologies for Apple explained that although the artificial chambers were useful, the team also travelled to actual cities around the world, testing the Watch.
“We think there’s a lot to this fitness thing … the impact on health could be profound.”
“We have traveled to Alaska and gone to Dubai to really test Apple Watch in all those environments, but we also wanted to be able to have a controlled environment here where we could see those extremes,” he said.
Although the Apple Watch doesn’t do much more than other smartwatches or fitness bands, as far as health and fitness tracking go, Apple believes that its research so far will have a big impact on the medical and fitness industries. The introduction of ResearchKit should also strengthen its contribution to studies.
“I think we’ve amassed already what may be one of the world’s largest pieces of data on fitness,” Blahnik said. “Our view is, we’re just beginning. We think there’s a lot to this fitness thing … the impact on health could be profound.”
To hear more about Apple’s testing and to see the whole segment, check out Nightline tonight at 12:35 a.m. EST on ABC.