AppleTV: just what the doctor ordered?

Will the AppleTV, and its dedicated apps, become the hub and interactive dashboard to manage shareable health information?

by Fabio Spacagna

AppleTV: just what the doctor ordered?
AppleTV: just what the doctor ordered?

This article originally appeared in

It is well known that peer pressure and social support are critical to help people achieve health and wellness goals. So imagine a day when all the members of a family, assisted living community, or support group can set up individual health goals to capture on their own smart devices, but with the added benefit of the AppleTV as the health hub and interactive dashboard managing everyone's shareable health information.

Did grandma take her medication this morning? Is Timmy's smartwatch showing he has a low-grade fever while at school? How well is dad doing with his weight loss and exercise goals this month? With the app-focused technology behind the AppleTV, groups of people will be able to share their health information in a real-life social setting. They will be able to congratulate each other on their good progress, intervene when someone needs help, or even feel a little bit of pressure to make sure they are keeping up with their own health goals.

Now, the very smartphone technology that has helped to isolate people in their own virtual worlds is poised to bring them back together with shared wellness goals and better health outcomes.

The tech
So pharma and healthcare app developers will want to know what lies behind the new Apple TV platform.

The new operating system tvOS shares iOS technology, as used in the iPhone and iPad, the same programming languages (Objective-C and Swift) and the same tool set. This makes it easy for developers to reuse existing code to port their applications on the new platform.

The iOS WebView framework has been left out deliberately, so there is no web browser on the new AppleTV – a decision probably taken based on the quality of the user experience. Surfing the web on a big-screen TV while you are lying on the sofa is less than optimal; many of us already own a smart TV with a web browser built in, but how many of us are actually using it on a regular basis? Nobody wants to tweet from his or her TV!

Perhaps Apple will reverse this decision in the future, but for now we can forget about Safari.

Social experience and multi-user
The iOS experience is meant for a single user per device, as is the case with iPhone and iPad. tvOS, meanwhile, is designed to offer a 'social experience' that takes place in the living room, with the focus on entertaining multiple people.

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