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Former iPhone manager: Apple will struggle to analyse watch data

Caleb Garling | Sept. 26, 2014
Former iPhone engineer Andy Grignon questions whether Apple will be able to use the data its watch collects.

"We don't even have cars to put this data in," Snodgrass said.

For his part, Grignon didn't think sensors only on the wrist were going to be the answer: we would need sensors, on say, our shoes that could track your feet movement, or in women's bras and men's boxers that could track sweat levels. The crowd laughed uncomfortably. 

Later, Marco Della Torre, vice president of product at Basis, was far more skeptical of a world of many connected devices worn on the body. "I don't want to charge those things," he said.

One hope is that these devices will be smart enough to know what you need and want ahead of time. Grignon considered fitness bands useless because they only regurgitate data -- they don't provide people with recommended actions to actually improve their health. The winners will be the products that deliver data before it's needed, and provide useful recommendations and analysis -- the kind of thing Google is attempting with Google Now.

"The people who are really going to make big money on it are the ones who can decipher 20 terabytes," Grignon noted.

Given Apple's track record of not doing anything useful with massive amounts of data, and their late entry to the market with offerings like HealthKit, Grignon didn't think Cupertino would be able to derive much value out of the upcoming glut of information: "They're terrible," he said.

Either way, "That's where we get into the real interesting problems. Now we know all this data about us --" Grignon said. 

"-- how do we make sure it isn't used against us," Snodgrass said, finishing his sentence.


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