Conventional wisdom says that Apple will finally reveal its long-awaited iWatch for release later this year, even though recent reports have seemingly put the kibosh on it being debuted at WWDC next month. But a new report out of Reuters points to yet more medical tech specialists being poached by the company, leading some to speculate that the iWatch will be the beneficiary of their wisdom.
According to the report, Apple has recently hired as many as half-a-dozen specialists in the medical technology field, all for the purposes of helping the company’s devices aid users in managing their well-being. Companies who have lost engineers to Apple include Vital Connect, Masimo Corp (which, the article explains, is “best known for its pulse oximetry device”), Sano Intelligence, and O2 MedTech. All of these specialists have recently changed their LinkedIn profiles to reflect their new positions within Apple, and they all have experience working with sensors for monitoring biological data.
The article quotes analyst Ted Driscoll, who says that Apple’s hires have to do with “monitoring the body’s perimeters,” and that “there’s no doubt that Apple is sniffing around this area.” And the leaks we’ve seen of the Healthbook app, said to come bundled into iOS 8 this year, are proof enough of that being true.
One of the issues at hand, however, is whether or not these new hires could potentially be trading in information and expertise they’re not legally at liberty to divulge. Joe Kiani, Masimo’s CEO, is quoted as worrying about as much:
“Some of [those hires have] access to deep wells of trade secrets and information. They are just buying people. I just hope Apple is not doing what we’re doing.”
And since Masimo is working on a device that can measure oxygen levels in a person’s blood, it would seem he has reason to worry. It wasn’t too long ago that we saw reports of Apple’s efforts to predict heart attacks via wearable devices “by studying the sound blood makes as it flows through the arteries.”
In short, Apple wants to know what’s going on inside you, and they’ll hire whoever they have to in order to find out. Whether or not those hires will lead to a 2014 release of the iWatch remains to be seen.