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Peloton ends updates for first-gen touchscreen owners, Apple's latest earnings and more digital health news briefs

Also: PillPack and Surescripts continue their feud; Tempu Sealy's sleep-tracking smart bed.
By Dave Muoio
02:16 pm

Peloton pulls the plug. Owners of the first generation of Peloton’s exercise bike touchscreens will no longer be receiving new software updates for their device, the company announced in a message on its support page. The touchscreen will still be able to access content, but the company is recommending that these users purchase a hardware upgrade so that they may continue to receive new feature updates, and has provided a discount code for a replacement touchscreen and pedal bundle to those with the early devices.

“As with all consumer electronics, the pace of innovation is swift and constantly evolving. And given the age and technology of your First Generation Touchscreen, it no longer accommodates the software features we regularly develop and release,” the company wrote. “We are still committed to maintaining the current experience, but the First Generation Touchscreen will not receive any new features going forward.”

Newer business units cover for iPhone’s slumping sales. Wearables and services were the name of the game during Apple’s most recent quarter, as the Cupertino company’s up-and-coming business units made up for middling iPhone sales. These two groups alone have grown to the point where they now rival the size of some Fortune 50 company’s, CEO Tim Cook said, while the iPhone’s $26 billion in revenue was a 12% decrease from what the company reported at this time last year.

Alongside the “absolutely blowout” performance of the wearables unit, Cook took some time to highlight the recent and upcoming health initiatives being powered by the Watches.

“We continue to innovate on Apple Watch's promise to be an intelligent guardian for your health. watchOS 6 includes powerful new features like notifications that warn about high decibel noise to protect your hearing and cycle tracking to aid in women's health care decisions,” CEO Tim Cook said during the call with investors.

“In the June quarter, we expanded the availability of the ECG app and a regular rhythm notifications to five additional European countries and added Canada and Singapore just last week, making them available in 31 countries and regions around the world, with more to come later this year. We're very proud of the muscle we've built in bringing regulated products like these to market. This is an important competency that creates exciting opportunities for us moving forward.”

A bitter pill to swallow. The feud between Amazon’s PillPack and Surescripts is ramping up, with the latter now barring ReMy Health — the third party vendor from which PillPack was accessing patient data. In a statement, Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said that a preliminary investigation yielded evidence suggesting that either ReMy Health or its customers had provided fraudulent information to Surescripts when requesting patient data.

“We found that ReMy Health had provided this medication history data to an entity that is not a provider in this type of care setting,” Skelton said. “This not only directly violates ReMy Health’s contract with Surescripts, it violates our partners’ trust in the appropriate use of the data they provide to the network and the privacy of the patients they serve.”

Following threats from Amazon to sue, Surescripts said it is now turning its investigation over to the FBI.

Next-generation sleeping. Mattress maker Tempur Sealy has unveiled a new smart bed system that tracks users’ sleep and provides coaching feedback for healthier habits. Able to connect to the rest of a user’s smart phone ecosystem, the bed’s sensors also include snore detection sensors that, if certain vibrations are detected, automatically adjust the sleepers head position to cut off the noise.

"Tempur-Pedic has a rich history of delivering the best options for transformative sleep, and we continue that tradition today," Scott Thompson, Tempur Sealy’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Always within reach. Smartphone touchscreens could serve as a key metric for determining an individual’s sleep-wake cycles and other behaviors, according to a new paper published in npj Digital Medicine. The investigation found logging day-to-day touchscreen use as a more accurate means of quantifying sleep than a wrist-worn accelerometer, and that study participants used their phones most while they were inactive.

“The sleep measures introduced here do not rely on high smartphone usage as such, but rather rely on the phenomenon that smartphones are used at rest and that they can be easily used even when in bed. The favorable consequence of this deep digital integration is that we can now develop highly scalable measures of sleep. Whether the integration is detrimental to sleep itself needs to be clarified,” the researchers concluded.


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