Apple launches a Beddit beta program focused on improving its app

Apple is launching a new beta program for Beddit, the sleep-tracking company it acquired just over two years ago after selling Beddit products in Apple Stores for years. According to the beta program’s website, users who enroll will get early access to new versions of the Beddit app ahead of the general public. They’ll also be able to offer feedback to Apple by sharing data and completing surveys.

Participants in the beta program will share data about their app usage, app settings and their sleep results, in addition to diagnostic data. This will require they first sign an informed consent form, given the personal nature of this data.

Apple also says beta participation is entirely voluntary and users can withdraw from the program at any time, at which point the data would no longer be collected. And if the user changes their mind, they could also rejoin the beta in the future as long as the beta program is ongoing.

There are a few other requirements for participation in the beta. Users must be based in the U.S., have a Beddit Sleep Monitor (the $145.95 model 3.5) and be at least 22 and not over 75 years old. They must also agree to receive email communications from Apple about the beta program.

Apple has been invested in sleep tracking since the launch of the “Bedtime” feature in its iOS Clock app introduced in iOS 10, which helps users set up reminders about bedtime and recurring wake-up alarms. It also allows its customers to configure other settings that can contribute to better rest, including the ability to schedule a Do Not Disturb mode, set time limits on app usage and schedule a Night Shift mode to turn on in the evening to reduce the blue light emitted from the phone — something that can disrupt our natural sleep patterns.

But with the Beddit deal, Apple took a bigger step into sleep tracking by snatching up a connected-device maker.

In time, the company could use the data collected from the beta testers to improve the Beddit app. That’s something it may need to focus on, given the app today sports a 2.1-star (out of 5) rating on the App Store and reviews complain about its bad design and missing features.