At the company’s virtual launch event on Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook briefly introduced Singapore’s wellness initiative, which lets the island nation’s nearly 6 million residents earn up to S$380 (around $280, £220 or AU$390) worth of rewards for engaging in healthy activities including meditation, yoga, and swimming.
“This fall, Singapore will become the first country to leverage the benefits of Apple Watch by offering incentives for people to use it to stay healthy and active,” Cook said.
The two-year health program is built around the Apple Watch and an iPhone app called LumiHealth, which administers a personalized wellness program. Residents will need access to both in order to participate in the national health initiative, which begins in October. Taking part is voluntary.
As well as hitting fitness goals, the app encourages people to make better food choices, improve their sleep habits, and take part in public health activities such as getting immunized. It is possible that the app will encourage people to get a vaccine once one becomes available.
“Even as all of us around the world are dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, we must keep investing in our future, ” said Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister. “This partnership between Singapore and Apple will enable Singaporeans to lead healthier lives, but equally important, it will contribute valuable insights to improving the health of people all over the world.
Although this is the first time Apple has announced a partnership with a country, Singapore is no stranger to joining forces with publicly-listed US tech companies to help boost the health of its population. Last August, the city-state tapped Fitbit to supply the company’s Inspire fitness trackers to residents if they agreed to sign-up for a $10 per month premium subscription.
Apple and Singapore made it a point to emphasise that the LumiHealth app was designed with “user privacy and security at its core.” All user data will be encrypted and securely stored, Apple said, and will not be shared for marketing purposes. The LumiHealth app was created in collaboration with a team of fitness and public health experts and is a result of the Singaporean government “soliciting proposals from international healthcare and technology companies on ways to enrich the lives and health of its population,” according to a statement from Apple.
Singapore has built a reputation for being a tech-savvy nation. Among a string other tech-driven initiatives, it was one of the first to release ato help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.