Apple has filed for a patent (number 2018026766) for a “physical activity and workout monitor” that involves the current and future versions of its iOS and watchOS Workout app.
The invention involves devices (iPhones and Apple Watches) and processes for monitoring attributes of a user’s physical activity (e.g., workout) or inactivity, and to user interfaces (e.g., an activity indicator) for displaying the same. In the patent filing, Apple notes that approximately 133 million Americans currently suffer from at least one chronic health condition. This number is expected to rise to approximately 165 million by the year 2020.
This deterioration in health can be attributed largely to a sedentary lifestyle with little to no physical activity. For example, lack of sufficient physical activity can increase the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer, depression and anxiety, obesity, and weak muscles and bones. In addition, recent studies have found that extended periods of inactivity (e.g., sitting at a desk), can lead to serious health risks, such as an increased risk of a heart attack. Apple wants to encourage users of its devices to get up and get moving.
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.