Apple’s New ResearchKit Won’t Benefit Australians

Apple’s New ResearchKit Won’t Benefit Australians
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Alongside its Apple Watch and MacBook announcements today, Apple also announced ResearchKit, an open source project that will collect health data from iOS devices and use it for medical research projects. It’s an intriguing concept, but Australians won’t be able to use it at launch.

Picture: Getty Images/Stephen Lam

ResearchKit will officially launch next month, but we saw a handful of apps Apple has developed in collaboration with research institutes demonstrated during its launch event this morning. The system draws on the data collected by the existing HealthKit framework (already used by many third party apps) and makes it available to researchers. Participants have to explicitly opt in to take part in research projects.

That opens up the possibility of large-scale studies (albeit with some demographic biases — the poorer you are, the less likely you are to own an iPhone). However, we won’t be seeing those options down under for a while. At launch, ResearchKit apps will only be available in the US iTunes store. Apple says it will expand the scheme to other countries at a later date, but hasn’t said when. We’d guess the complexities of laws in different countries surrounding collecting medical data is a major factor here.