Tech giant Apple has been employing a bold strategy to keep one of its top-selling products—the Apple Watch—head-and-shoulders above the competition. Remarkably, it has been studying and tracking how Apple employees go about exercising for the last 2 years. It seems that there’s such a thing as an Apple’s secret fitness lab.
Apple’s Secret Fitness Lab & Apple Employees
The Apple Watch was released in 2014. Then in 2015, Apple started testing other features and algorithms to make it more than an ordinary smartwatch. The company did all the testing and activity-tracking in a nondescript old building at the Cupertino campus in California. From the outside, the building does not look like much. However, once inside, there’s no mistaking that it is a very high-tech facility—with a fitness center pointing to the idea of an Apple’s secret fitness lab.
Apple employees volunteer to exercise at this facility to provide data for the Apple Watch developments and upgrades. These are regular people from all across the spectrum of human build and body types. They engage in exercise activities —including swimming, running, and other typical gym activities.
While the employees work out, they are strapped to high-tech monitors to measure their breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, how much oxygen they breathe in, and how much carbon dioxide they exhale. They also sometimes take a bike ride outside of the facility with their mask-like monitoring equipment.
Improving Health Tracking With the Apple Watch
Since it was created, the facility—that is, Apple’s secret fitness lab —has collected data from volunteers who are either exercising or at rest. This data has been used by developers to improve the watch’s algorithms and features. The developers have given the assurance that the personal data on the watch was not being uploaded to Apple servers. This fact would explain the need for having its own test subjects. Personal health information in servers can be a big security risk. Instead, personal health data is stored in the watch itself.
According to Jay Blahnik, the director of fitness for health technologies for Apple, the facility has collected more biometric information than any other research arm. Apple purchased more than 50 metabolic carts, which are used to measure oxygen consumption. The company is the single largest buyer of these machines. Half of the machines are portable and can be used for testing volunteers as they ride a bike or swim. When volunteers bike, there is also a security guard who bikes with them.
Apple’s secret fitness lab has an endless pool where insight on swimming is used as well. There are other rooms or chambers in the building which simulate other environmental conditions like atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity. All kinds of activities are tested in these different environments. Besides the basic vital signs monitoring, Apple has been working on other initiatives— including the ability to read the blood sugar levels in real-time.
Other Details on the Apple Watch
The latest Apple Watch features would include wireless data links to an Apple Watch OS 4 compatible treadmill. The research at the gym will all go to further improvements on features aimed at the wearables market. Currently, Fitbit has a 22.5 percent share of the market, with Apple garnering 10.7 percent for third place after Xiaomi. In terms of smartwatches alone, Apple has the biggest market share.
What’s in the Future of Apple?
Apple has been known for its secrecy in developing products as well as in its plans for the future. Apple’s secret fitness lab and the studies they do there are part of the culture of the company. It should be no surprise that they have thrown a lot of money and resources at the Apple Watch and they are putting all of their research results gathered from the gym into further improving the usability of this wearable.
When it was first launched, the Apple Watch sold about 1.5 million watches. This fact was followed by sales of 200,000 units a day, Marketwatch reported. The technology is being tweaked to move from simple fitness tracking to actual healthcare. Apple is said to be creating a smartwatch that can monitor the blood glucose levels of diabetics in a noninvasive manner.