Weekend Roundup: Apple Healthcare Clinics; Google Store?

It’s the weekend! Happy Juneteenth, too. Before you shut down for some relaxation and reflection, let’s revisit some interesting tech stories from the week you might have missed, including a report of an Apple healthcare clinic, Google’s new physical store, and a Windows 11 leak. 

Apple Healthcare Clinic?

A new report suggests that Apple wanted to do more than merely monitor customers’ health via hardware such as the Apple Watch—it also considered building out healthcare clinics staffed with physicians. The project, codenamed Casper, was first reported in the Wall Street Journal this week.

However, work on the project seems to have stalled. According to the Journal, Apple COO Jeff Williams and other executives envisioned customers signing up for these clinics as a subscription-based service. Clinicians and technical staff would partly rely on data from Apple devices to diagnose patients. 

While Apple had some employees participating in a pilot program, there reportedly wasn’t a lot of internal enthusiasm for the project. It seems that folks are fine with an Apple Watch monitoring their heartbeat—but having an Apple-funded physician sticking them with needles might be a bit too much.

Google Tries a Physical Store

Speaking of tech companies pushing into new areas, Google is on the verge of opening its first-ever physical store in New York City. Google will use the property in the ultra-hip Chelsea neighborhood to sell Pixel phones, Google Home, Fitbits, and other bits of hardware. (Google has a massive office in Chelsea, which also explains the location.)

Tech companies have a mixed record when it comes to stores. Apple turned its retail storefronts into a smashing success, for example, but Microsoft’s own attempts at stores failed pretty spectacularly. Amazon is expanding beyond its e-commerce roots with brick-and-mortar stores that depend heavily on automation, but it’s too soon to tell whether those will succeed with customers.  

In other words, Google is following a well-established playbook—but is the world clamoring for a physical space where you can buy Google-branded phones and smart speakers?

Windows 11?

Curious about what Microsoft has planned for the next version of Windows? Lucky for you, screenshots purportedly of the new interface and Start menu have leaked. If these shots represent the final version, things actually aren’t that radically different from the “standard” Windows interface—a little icon polishing here, a little bit of app-shifting there. We’ll probably have to wait for a formal unveiling for more insight into new or improved features.

Windows 11 (as this new version is likely named) shows Microsoft’s reluctance to mess too heavily with a decades-old formula. The last time the company tried something radical, with the mobile-optimized Windows 8, it was pilloried by the media and users. Windows 10 was a “reset,” abandoning all the newfangled tiles and touch-centric UX in favor of the old-style Start button and menu bar. At first glance, Windows 11 seems like a continuation of that, with some refinements.

That’s it! Have a great weekend, everyone!