The late Steve Jobs was known for engaging in a “reality distortion shield” when launching new projects that perhaps didn’t tell the whole story.
On Tuesday, Apple did a masterful job at its big reveal event of hyping its lineup of four new iPhones that, on the face of it, will have faster processors, improved camera features and connect to the new 5G wireless standard. In addition to starting out with a new HomePod mini, Apple unveiled an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone Pro Max, ranging in price from starting at $699 on up to starting at $1,099. We got the super detailed information on the processors, lenses and intuitive technology that makes it all work.
But what didn’t Apple tell us? Well, a lot.
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Prior to releasing ECG functionality in the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple needed FDA approval for the feature, but the same isn’t true of Blood Oxygen monitoring in the Apple Watch Series 6 because Apple doesn’t see it as a medical feature.
As outlined by The Verge, pulse oximeters like the blood oxygen tracking feature in the Apple Watch are considered Class II Medical devices and documentation is generally required, but there’s a way around that. If a pulse oximeter is marketed as being for general wellness or fun rather than for a medical purpose, FDA documentation is not required.
That’s the reason why the blood oxygen tracking feature is not being marketed by Apple as a medical feature, and an Apple Support document clearly states that measurements taken using blood oxygen tracking are “not intended for medical use” and are designed for “general fitness and wellness purposes.”
The Scientific Revolution of the 17th century yielded the figure of the modern scientist, single-mindedly dedicated to collecting empirical evidence and testing hypotheses against it. Strevens, who studied mathematics and computer science before turning to philosophy, says that transforming ordinary thinking humans into modern scientists entails “a morally and intellectually violent process.” So much scientific research takes place under conditions of “intellectual confinement” — painstaking, often tedious work that requires attention to minute details, accounting for fractions of an inch and slivers of a degree. Strevens gives the example of a biologist couple who spent every summer since 1973 on the Galápagos, measuring finches; it took them four decades before they had enough data to conclude that they had observed a new species of finch.
This kind of obsessiveness has made modern science enormously productive,