New Apple iPhone features get under your skin

By Reuters Staff
June 9, 2009

Among all the limelight-hogging features and rock-bottom prices unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers’ conference on Monday, two underscored the potential for the consumer electronics giant to sidle up and get up-close and personal with users – whether they like it or not.******For the hundreds gathered in San Francisco for the company’s annual developers’ pow-wow, Apple previewed a new iPhone feature that will allow users to remotely locate their  device if they ever get separated from it. Executives highlighted another application that, eerily, can directly monitor a person’s vital signs.******In this day and age, when millions advertise not just their location but what they had for dessert via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s unclear how consumers will respond to functions that monitor their movements or their inner workings. Favorably, judging from the applause and hooting when those features were expounded upon.******Find My iPhone allows users to remotely locate their device via the Web. Logging onto Apple’s MobileMe, users can locate their phone on a map; send a text message to the phone, asking that it be returned; or play a strdient alert or alarm. The feature is intended to aid finding a phone left unattended at a restaurant or hidden under a couch cushion, developers said.******The new software also has a feature that allows users to remotely “wipe” the device of all data if it is truly lost or stolen – but allows users to reload the wiped data via Apple’s iTunes Web site — which usually offers music, applications and even video for sale — if the phone is then found, meaning data is periodically stored via a user’s iTunes account.******Besides additional uses of the phone’s GPS capability, Apple on Monday highlighted a third party app that allows doctors to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely - accessing real-time heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and other data collected by hospital devices on their iPhones – clearly helpful for on-call doctors but also very private information.******The app would allow doctors to zoom in and out, measure different parts of the data, and scroll through historical data.******The Critical Care app from AirStrip Technologies has yet to be approved by the FDA, but the company said it was in advanced testing and expects the app will soon be available.******(By Clare Baldwin)


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The author misunderstands the vital signs monitoring app. The patient is in a hospital bed with EEG & other sensors attached – no iphone. The instruments log readings to a server at the hospital. The doctor can the view the readings remotely via the doctor’s iphone, as well as get alarms if certain bad events occur.

Posted by MIke | Report as abusive

the author believes that vital signs is extremely private data…i would tend to disagree, its not more private than personal details like account numbers or passwords..anyways, only the doctors will be able to judge what the vital sign readings fact it will be very useful for people who can’t get out of home for some reason, or old people and young children, if they can be monitored remotely…it will also help the docs to send the paramedics in case something goes wrong…they are using such tech in Africa to monitor diabetics, HIV patients, etc…

Posted by appso | Report as abusive

Its good development though for countries still developing like Botswana, such gadget take a long time to hit the market. If they happen to be here, ordinary man is not able to buy them. It remains luxury for some certain class of people, who get them on special packages from mobile phone operators.Another issue is that manufactures of these gadgets should ensure that their products are not over priced because this can somewhere make them hopeless about some certain markets like Botswana.

Posted by Pascal Raditsebe | Report as abusive

regardless of what new features they add to this device i will never buy one. the iphone is a toy and nothing more.

This was already done using BlackBerry in Alberta a while back.Despite their attempt to make it look otherwise, the iPhone is just a toy. If you mean business – get a BlackBerry. End of story.

Posted by AG | Report as abusive

what is the big deal? The first gen iPhone logged the location of every picture taken. The gps ability has been there, now we have another way to utilize it.

Posted by christopher pence | Report as abusive

i think that with this new iphone, spying will be easier than it was before. locating your phone if it is stollen or hidden is a great idea but what if it isn’t the case, what if i can use it to know where are the owner of that phone, how is he doing? this is spying on people, and i won’t tolerate it. even if you told me that they will be a password only the owner who could know where is the phone. but is it enough, can’t we hack it? or can we trust Apple that they will not diffuse information on us. it’s big brother again.

Posted by notinterested | Report as abusive

Well then you guys enjoy your BB Storm’s and Curve’s… in the meantime, the rest of the world will enjoy a real internet browser aka a real mobile experience… Goodluck with my toy indeed…

Posted by KwameJones | Report as abusive

Oh c’mon. The update for the original iPhone should allow it to take video and zoom in. Just do it.

“The Iphone is just a toy”You know its funny but my father use to say the same thing about the PC, it was a fad and would never catch on.

Posted by Bob Shafer | Report as abusive

Oooh! Spying. Big Brother. Give me a break. No one cares where you are or what you are doing…

Posted by BS | Report as abusive

“meaning data is periodically stored via a user’s iTunes account.”This is a problematic statement; the iPhone backs up periodically to the user’s computer, and thus is restored from there, not the web site. Apple does not back up users’ files, unless they opt in through Mobile Me.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

“allows users to reload the wiped data via Apple’s iTunes Web site…meaning data is periodically stored via a user’s iTunes account”The phone’s backup data is stored on the user’s computer, not online in the user’s iTunes account. This is how it works today, and presumably how a restore will work after the phone has been wiped remotely.Also, iTunes is not a website. It’s an application that runs on the user’s computer.

Posted by Alex Wolfe | Report as abusive

Nice App.. yes, I know many doctors that monitor critical vital signs like EKG via an Iphone. Really saves the hospitals money instead of having an intensive care unit to monitor vital signs. Given the high quality of the AT&T 2.5G data network, I feel even better that my doctor will likely receive an alert if my EKG “Goes bad”… Gee, I hope it don’t work like SMS messages. Just yesterday I received a text message 18 hours after it was sent. Oh, I understand this would be a dedicated client/server app for Iphone. I just hope I don’t drop dead when he/she is driving and not able to hold his Iphone out the window to get 2.5G service!Worse, another Iphone 3Gs, and with AT&T! Ugh! Well since Iphone 3G like Mac OS X is really an Linux app, I hope OmniGroup (Omnifocus) and others migrate to Android Linux API. With a small test Iphone ap I use for development, it took all of a day to get familiar with the Android API and get the app working. I admit the overhead was on the API. Once that was nailed, the app conversion was a cake walk. Since Android is licensed to any OEM (LG, Nokia, Qualcomm) for free, and phone service providers are starting to look at expanding the offerings (since appp sell iphones) if developers target android, you can buy the app and run it on any phone that runs on android.(I have no love for Google, but this is 21st century and iphone 3.0 will finally have “Cut and paste”.. OOhhh, Ahhhh, Aweeee! Wow!With android I can sync it with my $400 Netbook running Linux and not have to buy a 4GB limited scale Macbook Pro.(4GB, how 1995′ish! have to wonder if apple will support more than 4GB when they move to 64Bit linux platforms with Coco in another decade?

Posted by defilm | Report as abusive

Thanks for the AirStrip mention. AirStrip already has an app released for labor and delivery patients – AirStrip OB is FDA-cleared, HIPAA compliant and now in use at nearly 100 US hospitals. You can download a free demo at the Apple App Store.The security/privacy issues have been addressed in the design of the app, and that same attention to protecting privacy will be part of the CRITICAL CARE app as well.

To the genius Defilm who said “With android I can sync it with my $400 Netbook running Linux and not have to buy a 4GB limited scale Macbook Pro.(4GB, how 1995′ish! have to wonder if apple will support more than 4GB when they move to 64Bit linux platforms with Coco in another decade?”For your information, all Macbook Pros support up to 8GB of memory, and come standard with 4GB (except the cheapest one which come with 2, but still supports up to 8). Almost all PC laptops come with under 4. And Mac OS X is a 64 bit operating system. In fact, the MacPro, Apple’s desktop tower, supports up to 32GB of RAM. Your “how 1995′ish” is incorrect. In 1995, having 16 megabytes of RAM (not gigabytes, but megabytes) was considered above average.

Posted by JD | Report as abusive