The latest rumor about Apple's iWatch? The device will contain a heart rate monitor that can detect heart attacks. Here's what we know so far.
1. Apple Met With the FDA
Jony Ive was briefly removed from Apple’s SVP page this morning. They’re probably just trying to test the iWatch’s heart attack sensors.
— BJ Homer (@bjhomer) February 17, 2014
iPhone Hacks reports that Apple has been meeting with the FDA. This may suggest that Apple wants to develop a wearable device with proven medical benefits.
2. Apple's Made Some Interesting Hires
Business Insider notes that some of Apple's recent hires are indicative of a medical-related project. Interesting hires include a sleep research expert, a wearable medical hardware expert, a fitness expert who previously helped Nike build the Fuelband, and a former R&D person with a background in skin-based health monitors. All these hires seem to point to Apple's desire to make a medical wearable product with a fitness twist.
3. Sound May Be the Key
— PCMag (@PCMag) February 18, 2014
As you can see in the tweet above, there is some evidence that Apple's iWatch could have sensors attached to the earbuds that would monitor temperature, perspiration, and heart rate. But the earbuds aren't the only "sound" aspect to Apple's cardio monitor plans.
So, how would a heart attack detector work in an iWatch? According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Apple hired an audio expert to work on the project. The article notes:
"Apple is exploring ways to measure noise 'turbulence' as it applies to blood flow. The company wants to develop software and sensors that can predict heart attacks by identifying the sound blood makes as it tries to move through an artery clogged with plaque..."
4. Apple Might Acquire Basis, a Fitness Gadget Company
This rumor about Apple's new wearable "predicting heart attacks" fails to consider the massive liability for every heart attack it "misses"
— Neil Bearse (@neilbearse) February 17, 2014
According to CNET, Basis Science, the maker of the Basis Band fitness gadget, may be purchased by Apple very soon.
"The company's $199 wrist-worn tracker -- while roughly $75 to $100 more than competitors like the Fitbit Flex and Nike FuelBand -- stands out in the crowded and hotly contested space. It contains a consistent heart-rate monitor built into the back of the band, a workout intensity monitor that tracks perspiration, and a skin temperature reader that helps flesh out data on how hard you exert yourself throughout the day. That's all on top of the standard sleep and step-tracking functionality built into the watch-like device."
5. The Technology Might Appear Elsewhere
— Autoblog.com (@therealautoblog) February 17, 2014
Around the same time that Apple was believed to be developing their heart monitor functions, it was also reported that Apple was in talks with Tesla. A potential acquisition of Tesla by Apple could mean that Apple's iOS in the Car has a dedicated home.
However, if there was some way for a Tesla automobile to incorporate Apple's alleged heart rate monitoring tools into the car's design, consumers would likely be interested. A heart attack warning light built into the dash of a futuristic car would be the ultimate 21st Century safety feature.
"On top of adding medical features to wearable devices, Apple may be interested in making its own cars at some point in the future, with the company having reportedly negotiated buying Tesla at some point in early 2013 – these would be new markets for Apple that would help the company grow further in the future. However, a Tesla acquisition is yet to be confirmed."