Turn your Apple Watch into the Apple Watch Edition for £29.99

30 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple’s Trade-In Program Now Includes Non-Apple Smartphones And PCs.

Apple won’t allow walk-in customers to purchase an Apple Watch on the spot, according to a new report. Apple’s most expensive Apple Watch starts at $10,000 — but the high-rollers among us can start getting their money’s worth before they even drop the cash.Apple has expanded its trade-in program, which offers credit towards new device purchases in exchange for older hardware, to non-Apple smartphones and PCs (via 9to5Mac).With Apple Inc. and fellow Silicon Valley companies edging further into health care, the U.S. agency in charge of oversight says it will give the technology industry leeway to develop new products without aggressive regulation.

Shoppers interested in the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will be given no-wait access to an Apple Store Expert, who will create a personalized “journey” for the customer’s in-store experience, 9to5Mac reported Sunday, citing sources briefed on launch plans. News of the program expansion comes from changed language on Apple Store pages describing the reuse and recycle initiative on Apple’s U.S., UK, Canada and some other European store sites. Bakul Patel, who oversees the new wave of consumer-focused health products at the Food and Drug Administration, said most wearable gadgets such as the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch and health-focused applications for smartphones have a way to go before warranting close scrutiny from the agency. “We are taking a very light touch, an almost hands-off approach,” Patel, the FDA’s associate director for digital health, said in an interview. “If you have technology that’s going to motivate a person to stay healthy, that’s not something we want to be engaged in.” The FDA is mapping out its role at a time when health care and consumer technology are blending.

The trade-in program is operated by third-party partners to Apple, which helps explain why they’d also be interested in securing older non-Apple hardware for refurbishment. Apple, Samsung Electronics Co. and other companies are building products loaded with sensors that have the potential to eventually gather all sorts of information about blood pressure, body temperature, glucose levels, hydration, oxygen levels and outside air conditions. Expanding the program also helps Apple add additional incentive for switchers looking to come over to either iOS or Mac from a different platform, including Android and Windows. Software algorithms are being developed that gather different information about a person’s health to provide a diagnosis of potential illness that backers say may eventually be more accurate than a doctor. “The FDA sits at one of the most, if not the most, critical junctures in terms of modulating the burgeoning category of digital medicine,” said Malay Gandhi, managing director of Rock Health, a health-focused venture capital firm in San Francisco. While the FDA oversees devices and applications, other federal agencies also have taken an interest in how these products interact with people’s lives, including whether they do what they’re purported to do or pose a risk to privacy.

In February, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on some smartphone apps for dubiously claiming to diagnose melanoma based on an uploaded picture. Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights is responsible for oversight of the security of patient-health data collected by electronic devices, a separate issue that is being closely watched by privacy advocates. “I worry that there are going to be companies that are skirting the rules,” Gandhi said. “We have to see the enforcement, otherwise it creates a very uneven playing field between companies that are acting ethically and those that aren’t.” Patel said Apple and Google Inc. and other corporations should play a role in screening applications to be sure health-software developers aren’t over-promising the benefits of their products. The most oft-cited example is when the agency went after the genetic-testing company 23andMe Inc. for selling health-analysis reports that give customers a clue of what risks they may face in the future based on their DNA profile. “The FDA isn’t built to handle new categories” such as wearable devices, smartphone applications and other emerging technologies, said Derek Newell, chief executive officer of health-care startup Jiff Inc., who previously ran a medical-devices company. The FDA’s concerns are focused on gadgets and software that try to mimic the function of a medical device — not features that simply track steps or heart rate, Patel said.

A guiding question is what harm might be done to a person if a product fails. “We are focusing only on the higher end of technology,” Patel said. “What are benefits to public health against the risks to public health? The FDA’s guidelines on regulating mobile applications, released in February, leave fitness-tracking and other wellness-related products largely free from scrutiny, while technology used for diagnosis, treatment and prevention will get a closer look. It boils down to will it work or not.” Patel said that as more health-related products get into to the hands of consumers, the FDA’s oversight responsibilities will become increasingly critical.

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