The key to better health care may already be in your pocket… and it’s not your wallet

Jan30

It happened on flight from Washington, DC to San Diego.

The pilot’s urgent question reverberated over the intercom during a cross country flight, “Is there a doctor on board?” A passenger was experiencing severe chest pains, and luckily for him Dr. Eric Topol was sitting in seat 6A.

Topol is the energetic chief academic officer of Scripps Health, a prominent cardiologist and the foremost figure in the field of wireless medicine. He believes the future of health lies in our own hands, namely in our smart phones and other portable electronic devices. According to Topol, “the smart phone will be the hub of the future of medicine. And it will be your health-medical dashboard.”

That day on the airplane, Dr. Topol displayed the potential of wireless medicine when he snapped an AliveCor device onto his iPhone and performed a cardiogram at 30,000 feet. Using this portable, cellphone powered device, Topol was able to see that the passenger was definitely having a heart attack and he recommended an urgent landing. The passenger was rushed to the hospital and survived.

Topol said this was a “Eureka!” moment for him; such devices could lead to better and cheaper health care everywhere, from airplanes to senior citizen’s homes.

“These days, I’m prescribing a lot more apps than I am medications,” he continued.

Topol points to a growing number of apps and devices, none of which he is paid for using or endorsing, that are capable of measuring vital signs and then transmitting that data to smartphones. Whether it’s your blood sugar levels, your heart rate or your sleep habits, Topol believes we should track our own conditions through our phones and use that data to see patterns and warning signs of illness.

Topol speaks of a not-so-distant future where human beings are digitized through sensors in the bloodstream. He explains, “By having a sensor in the blood, we can pick up all sorts of things, whether it’s cells coming off an artery lining [indicating heart attack], whether it’s the first cancer cell getting in the bloodstream, whether it’s the immune system revving up for asthma or diabetes or you name it. All these things, will be detected by sensors in the blood which will then talk to the phone.”

And when one of these warning signs is picked up by the sensor, a special ring will be sent to your cell phone. Like an engine warning light on your car’s dashboard, this ring will indicate that trouble is brewing in a certain area of the body. Ideally, this would prevent life threatening incidents, like heart attack.

Topol calls the medical community ossified for its hesitance to embrace wireless technology. This he sees as destructive to the advancement of medicine.

He is similarly critical what he calls “population medicine”, in other words, one standard method of treatment used on all patients. He says that mandated mass screenings, such as the annual mammogram for women over 50, are not only wasteful, but can cause needless anxiety from false positives and biopsies. Only 12% of women will ever get breast cancer, so instructing that all women be screened yearly exposes many to unnecessary radiation and often leads to false positives and biopsies causing needless anxiety for both the patient and his or her family.

When describing medicine today, Topol says most doctors “fire into a black box, give someone medication, go home and pray.” He argues that instead, in the near future, everyone should have his or her DNA sequenced which would reveal what diseases or conditions an individual is prone to, and also what types of drugs will or will not be effective for that particular individual. Topol is in full support of DNA sequencing, but there is some controversy regarding how effective DNA sequencing is when it comes to predicting illness.

Right now a full DNA sequencing costs about $2,500, but Topol expects that within the year, the cost will drop by more than half. It is his hope that DNA sequencing will soon be affordable for all.

Topol further predicts that finding a cure to ailments from cancer to heart disease depends on sharing our medical information. He insists that if we were serious about the war on cancer, every single person who had the disease would get his or her tumor genome sequenced, record treatment techniques and outcomes, and then make it all public knowledge. This data combined has extraordinary potential.

His enthusiasm is infectious as he describes his vision for the near future, “If we started to bring all this information together, the acceleration of knowledge and the transformation of what we could do for the future of disease would be extraordinary.”

Apple Reports Record Results

Jan23

47.8 Million iPhones Sold; 22.9 Million iPads Sold

CUPERTINO, California—January 23, 2013—Apple® today announced financial results for its 13-week fiscal 2013 first quarter ended December 29, 2012. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $54.5 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.81 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $46.3 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share, in the 14-week year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 38.6 percent compared to 44.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 61 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Average weekly revenue was $4.2 billion in the quarter compared to $3.3 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The Company sold a record 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to 37 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold a record 22.9 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.1 million Macs, compared to 5.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 12.7 million iPods in the quarter, compared to 15.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on February 14, 2013, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 11, 2013.

“We’re thrilled with record revenue of over $54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products in the world.”

“We’re pleased to have generated over $23 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “We established new all-time quarterly records for iPhone and iPad sales, significantly broadened our ecosystem, and generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever.”

Apple is providing the following guidance for its fiscal 2013 second quarter:

• revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion
• gross margin between 37.5 percent and 38.5 percent
• operating expenses between $3.8 billion and $3.9 billion
• other income/(expense) of $350 million
• tax rate of 26%

Apple will provide live streaming of its Q1 2013 financial results conference call beginning at 2:00 p.m. PST on January 23, 2013 at www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq113. This webcast will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter.

This press release contains forward-looking statements including without limitation those about the Company’s estimated revenue, gross margin, operating expenses, other income/(expense), and tax rate. These statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ. Risks and uncertainties include without limitation the effect of competitive and economic factors, and the Company’s reaction to those factors, on consumer and business buying decisions with respect to the Company’s products; continued competitive pressures in the marketplace; the ability of the Company to deliver to the marketplace and stimulate customer demand for new programs, products, and technological innovations on a timely basis; the effect that product introductions and transitions, changes in product pricing or mix, and/or increases in component costs could have on the Company’s gross margin; the inventory risk associated with the Company’s need to order or commit to order product components in advance of customer orders; the continued availability on acceptable terms, or at all, of certain components and services essential to the Company’s business currently obtained by the Company from sole or limited sources; the effect that the Company’s dependency on manufacturing and logistics services provided by third parties may have on the quality, quantity or cost of products manufactured or services rendered; risks associated with the Company’s international operations; the Company’s reliance on third-party intellectual property and digital content; the potential impact of a finding that the Company has infringed on the intellectual property rights of others; the Company’s dependency on the performance of distributors, carriers and other resellers of the Company’s products; the effect that product and service quality problems could have on the Company’s sales and operating profits; the continued service and availability of key executives and employees; war, terrorism, public health issues, natural disasters, and other circumstances that could disrupt supply, delivery, or demand of products; and unfavorable results of other legal proceedings. More information on potential factors that could affect the Company’s financial results is included from time to time in the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of the Company’s public reports filed with the SEC, including the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 29, 2012, and its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended December 29, 2012 to be filed with the SEC. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which speak as of their respective dates.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

App Store Tops 40 Billion Downloads with Almost Half in 2012

Jan07

Record-Breaking December with Over Two Billion Downloads

CUPERTINO, California―January 7, 2013―Apple® today announced that customers have downloaded over 40 billion apps*, with nearly 20 billion in 2012 alone. The App Store℠ has over 500 million active accounts and had a record-breaking December with over two billion downloads during the month. Apple’s incredible developer community has created over 775,000 apps for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users worldwide, and developers have been paid over seven billion dollars by Apple.

“It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Developers have made over seven billion dollars on the App Store, and we continue to invest in providing them with the best ecosystem so they can create the most innovative apps in the world.”

In 2012, the husband and wife team at Imangi Studios saw their game Temple Run downloaded more than 75 million times; Backflip Studios and Supercell, two emerging game development studios, brought in over $100 million combined for their leading freemium titles DragonVale and Clash of Clans; and emerging services including Uber, Flipboard, HotelTonight, and AirBnB attracted millions of users on iOS. Companies including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Autodesk, Marvel and Major League Baseball continued to expand their iOS offerings, while developers like JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Interactive and Bottle Rocket Apps continued to push the boundaries of what iOS apps can do.

“The success of our game Temple Run in 2012 was nothing short of astonishing,” said Keith Shepherd, co-founder of Imangi Studios. “We were simply looking to create a game that was fun and easy to play, but once it hit the App Store, the game took off. This past year, we saw more than 75 million downloads of Temple Run on iOS.”

“Our success on iOS has been incredible,” said Samir Hanna, vice president of Consumer Products for Autodesk. “We set off with the modest goal of bringing SketchBook to iPhone users as a way of introducing them to Autodesk. Fast forward three years, we now offer 20 apps to iOS users that have achieved more than 50 million downloads, and we continue to roll out new creativity and design tools that appeal to both professionals and consumers.”

“The App Store provided us with opportunities beyond our wildest dreams,” said Bad Robot Interactive’s JJ Abrams. “Our app Action Movie FX was designed to bring Hollywood special effects to anyone’s self-made video, whether that be on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and we’re just thrilled that millions of fans around the world were as excited as we were about the possibilities that this app brings.”

“Bottle Rocket Apps now employs over 100 full-time employees, dedicated to nothing but building great apps,” said Calvin Carter, president of Bottle Rocket Apps. “In my 20 plus years in technology, I have never seen such a vibrant marketplace for software like the App Store.”

Apple offers developers a wealth of resources and tools to help them make great apps, plus a robust ecosystem and marketplace which provide customers a safe and easy way to discover them. Apple also provides developers great ways to monetize apps including in-app purchase, subscriptions and advertising, and helps market and support developer efforts in the App Store and beyond.

The revolutionary App Store offers more than 775,000 apps to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in 155 countries around the world, with more than 300,000 native iPad apps available. App Store customers can choose from an incredible range of apps in 23 categories, including newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, games, business, news, sports, health & fitness and travel.

*40 billion unique downloads excluding re-downloads and updates.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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