A team of senior medical technology experts is being built by Apple Inc., which has raised hackles in the biotech community as it offers some hints about what the tech giant may be planning for its widely anticipated wearable technology, hopefully the iWatch. In the past year alone, the iPhone maker has managed to snap up more than half a dozen major experts in biomedicine, if their LinkedIn profiles are any indication. It was only two weeks ago that a prominent researcher made changes to his profile. Moreover, two people who didn’t wish to be named, but are familiar with the hiring process said that the company is recruiting hardware experts and other medical professionals although the numbers hired are not clear as yet.
Sensor technology is the focus of most of the hiring, an aspect that was singled out by Tim Cook, chief executive of the Cupertino, California based firm last year as one that’s set ‘to explode’. According to industry insiders, this move simply outlines a vision of monitoring everything from nutrition to blood-sugar levels, which would be more than the usual fitness-oriented devices that can be seen in the market. According to analysts and experts who are aware of the moves being made by Apple, this is a major play in the bio-sensing field.
New product categories were promised by Cook this year and the company is under considerable pressure to deliver. A new type of product has not been introduced by the company since 2010 when it launched the iPad and this fact is a constant worry in the minds of the investors. The stock of the company is still way off its highs even though there have been a series of dividend payouts and buybacks. While the company’s quarterly results and recent buyback plans were appreciated by investors, they also said that they were looking forward to new products.
The trademark that has been registered by the company in Japan is ‘iWatch’. Moreover, several patents have also been filed by the company that point towards a wrist-worn device. In February, the iPhone maker also filed a patent for a smart ear bud that had the ability of detecting gestures made by the head and tracking steps. A mobile health executive who doesn’t want to be named said that that he had discussed things with an Apple executive who was on the iWatch team. He said that the aspirations of the company go beyond wearable devices because it wishes to introduce a full health and fitness service platform.
Steve Dowling, the company’s spokesperson refused to comment on the company’s recent hiring spree and its health tech plans. However, the med-tech community is expecting Apple to come up with a platform like its app store, which would allow startups to deliver their own hardware and software mobile medical applications. According to experts of this field, the company is definitely sniffing around this particular area and is hiring engineers who are experienced in monitoring the perimeters of the body.