Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is quietly building a team of biomedical and sensor experts, a move that could telegraph how the company might want to play in the wearable computing market, according to a Reuters report. The report, citing unnamed sources, said that Apple is actively recruiting medical professionals and hardware experts. Over the past year, Apple has hired at least half a dozen prominent experts in biomedicine, according to LinkedIn profile changes, the report said.
There has been industry speculation that Apple is working on a wearable product called "iWatch," and Apple has registered the trademark "iWatch" in Japan. Additionally, several Apple patents point to wrist-worn devices, and in February Apple filed a patent for a smart earbud technology that could track steps and detect gestures of the head, Reuters noted.
Meanwhile, an unnamed mobile health executive told Reuters he recently met with an Apple executive from the iWatch team and said company is thinking beyond wearables and is considering a full health and fitness services platform modeled on its App Store. Apple declined to comment, the report said.
Reports from earlier this year in 9to5Mac have indicated Apple is working on an iOS application codenamed Healthbook. The app will have categories for bloodwork, heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, physical activity, nutrition, blood sugar, sleep, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and weight.
In fall of 2013, the Food and Drug Administration said it would focus on regulating apps that attempt to turn a smartphone into a medical device, or that are intended to be used as an accessory to a regulated medical device. That shift, Reuters noted, could put up a hurdle in any potential Apple attempts to get into the mobile healthcare market. Article