CNN at CES: ‘Rows and rows of health and wellness startups’

Brian Stelter toured the floor. This is what caught his eye.

From Thursday’s Reliable Sources’ email blastHello from Las Vegas.

I don’t need a smart voice assistant embedded in my bathroom mirror. Or do I? That’s what you start to wonder. Apple, Amazon and Google’s voice platforms were omnipresent. I mean, I’m pretty sure I don’t need a voice enabled kitchen faucet. But… maybe? Around the corner, a “parasol automation device.” A voice-controlled umbrella? Sure, why not…

Hopefully someday soon the word “smart” will just be assumed about all these products. If it’s not smart, it’s “connected:” Motion detection cameras, GPS trackers for pets, personal ultrasounds, robot companions, connected bike helmets, voice powered rings, digestive trackers, digital assistants for drivers. Personally I was most intrigued by the rows and rows of health and wellness startups. Tim Cook‘s quote from Tuesday came to mind: “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.”

My take: I know Tim Cook has been getting a lot of mileage out of that quote, but color me skeptical about whether a) Apple can make us healthy and b) That’s how historians will remember Apple.

Buy hey, I wasn’t there. I used to attend CES long ago, when Time Magazine paid my way. I would leave after a day or two, angry and dispirited. So many bad ideas! So much wasted money and effort!


  1. Dan Scropos said:

    PED said-“My take: I know Tim Cook has been getting a lot of mileage out of that quote, but color me skeptical about whether a) Apple can make us healthy and b) That’s how historians will remember Apple.”

    For now, that’s fair. However, there was *also* a time that you would have been far *more* skeptical had someone told you Apple would soon be a dominant player in phone handsets and watches. T quite the great Tim Cook, “I wouldn’t bet against Apple.”

    January 10, 2019
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:


      The Tim Cook quote you used at the end of your comment was the exact quote that came to mind as I was reading through PED’s post. I agree with the author of the referenced article. Perhaps “connected” is a much better term to use than “smart” when describing products that respond by voice activation. I’ve yet to find a “smart” TV. But I’m familiar with products that are connected at various degrees of success and usefulness.

      In my view, it comes down to this: Either one has confidence in Tim Cook’s leadership and management of Apple or one doesn’t have confidence in his leadership and management of Apple. If one doesn’t have confidence everything that he says and the company appears to be doing will put under a proverbial microscope and analyzed beyond the point of reason.

      This is an all too familiar cycle. Apple disappoints and Tim Cook’s leadership is questioned (2013, 2016 & 2019). Talk of Apple’s demise or at least decreasing global relevance then becomes the topic of conversation. The company eventually delivers on its stated promises and Tim Cook is hailed as an aspiring corporate leader (2012, 2015 & 2018). I’m hopeful it won’t take until 2021 for the cycle to come full circle again.

      In the meantime, “smart” or just connected, My iPhone, iMacs, iPads and Apple Watch are working just fine. Oh yeah, my HomePods are also performing the functions for which they were purchased. Some might not think the HomePods are very “smart,” but they deliver as promised. I didn’t buy the HomePods for conversation. I purchased them for music.

      January 10, 2019
      • Gregg Thurman said:

        I’m hopeful it won’t take until 2021 for the cycle to come full circle again.

        In a worst case scenario, I see AAPL returning to very strong growth by this time 2020.

        I say that from past (limited) experience. Since, and including the bank meltdown, AAPL has traded down YoY three times. The first time, post the bank meltdown, occurred between February 1, 2013, and January 3, 2014. From there AAPL traded up as much as 60% YoY over the course of the following seven months.

        The only other time AAPL traded down YoY was between December 1, 2015, and December 8, 2016. On December 9, 2016, AAPL went positive YoY and continued that way for the next year ($176.24 Close on November 8, 2017) at which time AAPL was trading up ~60% (or more) YoY.

        If there is any correlation to how AAPL trades after recovering from a pratfall, then during FY2020 AAPL should be up 60% (at its peak) from year ago FY2019 levels.

        That timeline corresponds nicely with:
        * The possible introduction of 5G capable iPhones (September 2019),
        * Revenue from Apple produced video content (late C2019),
        * At long last Intel will produce high-performance processors capable of supporting 32Gb LPDDR memory and integrated GPUs (to the delight of long-suffering MacBook users) mid C2019,
        * The end (in Apple’s favor) of its dispute with Qualcomm,
        * Resolution of the China/US trade tiff and,
        * Return to economic growth in China and the Eurozone.

        It should be noted that not all, or even half, of these items, need to occur by December 2019 for AAPL to resume growing, although I expect all of them will.

        January 10, 2019
  2. Fred Stein said:

    Trust Tim Cook on that quote. This will be his legacy.

    Healthcare, including sick care (our current system) offers hundreds of places to optimize. This is $3T in the US and $7T globally. This could a book.

    Just one area, Clinical Trials, is a $60B segment in the US alone. Apple is ‘all in’ and has first mover advantage. Apple’s privacy, security reliability and ease of use will keep them ahead. This segment is fragmented using antiquated paper/fax/on-site visits/and phone interviews. The cost of this lowers the ROI for new drugs and devices to current cost of funds. CBInsights has written extensively on this segment.

    Surely Apple has more coming. My hope is hearing aids.

    January 10, 2019
  3. Dan Scropos said:

    Hearing aids, folks. I believe Apple has to be developing something for the hearing impaired. There have been patent sightings/rumors and this is a market ready for disruption.

    January 10, 2019

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