March 21 Apple Announcements: Environment & Health

Apple Vice President of Operations, Jeff Williams, discusses ResearchKit during an Apple event on Monday, March 9, 2015, in San Francisco. Image: AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

It’s amazing to think that just 40 years ago on April 1, 1976, this technology powerhouse was brought to life. Celebrating it’s 40th birthday this year, Apple delivered a keynote today that did not seize to impress. Highlighting a mobile line that we all know oh-so well and introducing some exciting new devices, through this recap, we’re going to explore the beauty of what is to come within the next two months from Apple!

To date, there are 1 billion Apple devices in use all around the world and the iPhone was designed for just that purpose, to appeal to the wants and needs of the consumer. In the wake of recent events regarding security and privacy, Tim Cook opened today’s keynote speaking on privacy at Apple. Stating that it is Apple’s responsibility to ensure it’s customer data is safe and secure, Apple will continue to uphold it’s customer information privacy and protection and will not shrink in this matter.

Environmental Impact

Now for the highlights of today’s announcement. Starting first with the environment! In 2014, Apple set the goal of running on 100% renewable energy resources. As of 2016, the company is proud to announce that it’s running on 93% renewable energy globally throughout the company; 100% in 23 countries including the United Stated and China! In some places, the energy was purchased through the existing energy sources. In others like Foshan Province, China, Apple built a 40 mega watt solar farm without disturbing the local population of Yaks, allowing for energy generation and assisted hay production for the local yak ranchers – sending power to the 34 retail stores and 19 offices in the local area. In Singapore where there isn’t enough room to put solar panels on the ground, Apple installed over 800 solar panels on building rooftops. 100% of the company’s US data centers run on either solar, wind or water energy. So next time you send an iMessage or make a FaceTime video call, know you are helping to impact the environment in a more positive way.

Image: TechCrunch

Image: TechCrunch

In addition to energy, Apple is helping to improve the environment through forestry as well, by protecting the forests hat produce the paper used Apple. Currently 99% of packaging comes from recycled paper or sustainable managed forests. Eventually the goal is to move to all paper packaging. To date, Apple has worked with the Conservation Fund to conserve over 36,000 acres of working forest in Maine and North Carolina. Also, a partnership is in the works with the World Wildlife Fund to improve over 1M acres of forest in China, making the ultimate goal in all of this to add to the world’s supply of recycled paper rather than take from it.

The reuse and recycle initiative many of us avid Apple enthusiasts know and use was highlighted, introducing a new program that is sure to create an even more efficient way to reuse an old device. Apple works tirelessly to ensure that it’s devices do no end up in a technology graveyard somewhere, so heavy investments are made to keep that from happening. Introducing Liam – the robot who disassembles recycled Apple devices for reuse of all of it’s components to reuse in items such as a precision tool or the silver on a solar panel. If you’re feeling environmentally friendly and want to contribute to the cause, go to your local Apple Retail Store or online to the Apple website to contribute your devices today!


In 2015, ResearchKit was introduced with the purpose of providing an easy way for people to participate in research studies as well as provide an easy way to collect data that is both accurate and frequent. Here are a couple milestones since:

        • Parkinson’s Study = Largest in history in less than 24 hours

        • MT Sinai Asthma app collected data in all 50 states

        • MGH (Mass General Hospital) has found there are subgroups to Type 2 Diabetes

        • Duke Health has created an app that allows for testing of autism in your child through just the use of games and the forward facing camera to track familial expressions

        • Epilepsy app that uses Apple Watch — eventually hoping to make an epilepsy detector

With ResearchKit revolutionizing discovery, CareKit was introduced! This app is “framework to build apps that empower people to take an active role in their care.” The first app to be released will be for Parkinson’s disease – showing such things as response trends before and after medication to help determine the path moving forward.

Institutions like University of Rochester, UCSF, John Hopkins Medicine, PDCNY (Parkinsons Disease Care, NY), Stanford medicine and Emory Healthcare will be using it.

CareKit will be available in April

About the Author

Melissa Pettiford
Melissa Pettiford
Columnist @MelPFord

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