Rumor: Apple working on entirely new, advanced health-tracking hardware for 2017 launch

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited August 2016
Ten years after the launch of the first iPhone, Apple could be planning to unveil a "killer new product" developed within its health laboratories, a new report claims -- though details are vague.




The rumor stems from Taiwan's Economic Daily News, which claims that the new product will "accurately collect users' personal daily life including heart rate, pulse, blood sugar changes and other information." It was said that technical director Jay Blahnik and Apple's health-focused development team have been working on the mysterious new product for more than two years.

As Apple gears up for an apparent 2017 launch, the report suggested the company is now tapping suppliers as it looks to finalize the product. On board are said to be Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Foxconn, TPK, Zhen Ding Technology, and more.

The report suggested that Apple's pressure sensing 3D Touch technology, found in the iPhone 6s, will play a crucial role in the new health product.

It claims that the new product, along with health sensing capabilities in the 2017 iPhone, could "set off a new whirlwind" within the technology industry.




The report was first discovered by Macotakara, which suggested Apple has developed a "revolutionary idea" with this new product that will somehow be related to its power supply.

No indication of a form factor for the device -- whether it will be wearable or standalone --?was given in translations of either report. But considering the rumor suggests it will be a first-generation device, it would seem that the new hardware will not be a more advanced version of the Apple Watch.

Over the last few years, Apple has been steadily building a health-focused team, including doctors, researchers and fitness experts. In addition to building new capabilities in the Apple Watch and iPhone, the team has been fleshing out developer-focused platforms like HealthKit, ResearchKit and CareKit.

Before he died, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs challenged his company to fix what he viewed as a disjointed healthcare system. Jobs believed technology could solve a gap between patients and healthcare professionals.


ResearchKit apps


Clearly the Apple Watch is a major part of that vision, but what form new health-focused hardware could take remains a mystery. One concept that's been tossed about are smart band accessories, optional add-ons for the Apple Watch that could add advanced functionality going well beyond the capabilities of the device itself, measuring blood oxygen, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

In addition, earlier this year Apple posted a new job opening seeking a lawyer with expertise in the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Apple's Privacy Counsel position advises on federal regulatory matters related to future products, suggesting the company plans to develop comprehensive medical technology beyond its current lineup, which includes as-yet-unregulated devices like the Apple Watch.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    kpomkpom Posts: 615member
    A second wearable seems unusual to me, unless it isn't work on the wrist. 
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 2 of 28
    Still wishing for a bluetooth connected ring that monitors your vitals, charged by the kinetic motion of your hand throughout the day. Seen a few hopefuls on kickstarter promise this but they are yet to deliver (if ever).
  • Reply 3 of 28
    It is possible for Apple to come up with the idea of a Bluetooth headset that also doubles as a medical device that can monitor BP, Blood oxygen etc .... See MIT paper published in 2010 - http://dspace.mit.edu/openaccess-disseminate/1721.1/69025
    tmay
  • Reply 4 of 28
    Given the number of people I've seen wearing a smartwatch of some manufacture and a fitness band, I don't think it unusual at all. In the next few years, I think well see a lot of people wearing two items (one on each wrist), be they a traditional mechanical watch or contemporary smartwatch, and a dedicated fitness band.
    jbishop1039
  • Reply 5 of 28
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,804member
    Just announced... Samsung will launch a fancy wearable health tracking thingie tomorrow.
    topper24hoursnolamacguypatchythepirateDan Andersenfastasleep
  • Reply 6 of 28
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,926moderator
    kpom said:
    A second wearable seems unusual to me, unless it isn't work on the wrist. 
    It would make a lot of sense to create smart bands (my prediction here in early 2014) that have condition-specific sensor capabilities and deliver data via that as-yet-unused six pin connector.  As I predicted in April 2014, and will predict again now, insurance companies will subsidize these to reduce costs downstream, just as they currently often subsidize fitness center membership.  


    edited August 2016 tmaysteveau
  • Reply 7 of 28
    srams123 said:
    It is possible for Apple to come up with the idea of a Bluetooth headset that also doubles as a medical device that can monitor BP, Blood oxygen etc .... See MIT paper published in 2010 - http://dspace.mit.edu/openaccess-disseminate/1721.1/69025
    I could actually see that being VERY popular to the "gym rat/Beats wearing" crowd!
    It could store even more helpful workout data, derived from nothing more (effortwise) on the users part than listening to the workout mix you were going to anyway. 

  • Reply 8 of 28
    noelosnoelos Posts: 101member
    Is it ethical for Apple's health laboratories to be be planning to a "killer product"? Will this be used by "death panels"?

    /s
    jbishop1039larryacommand_ffastasleepsteveau
  • Reply 9 of 28
    Sounds interesting.  Where is this in the medical device pipeline at the US Food and Drug Administration?
  • Reply 10 of 28
    If a watch function will be spectacular,
  • Reply 11 of 28
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,562member
    Speaking for myself, wearables hold zero interest for me unless they are essentially performing invisibly in the background and require no maintenance.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    Actually inside your nose is the best place to collect body related data.

    I predict Apple will launch a nose ring that monitors:
    Blood sugar levels
    Blood oxygen
    Heart rate
    Detection of cold/flue symptoms of the sinus - allowing early warning.
    etc.

    But more importantly it will monitor your breathing rate from both nostrils separately.
    This is very important for diagnosing sleep apnea and related conditions.

    When it detects you are not breathing (or snoring) it can trigger a noise or electric jolt to wake you up to start breathing again.

    It will also double as a microphone for your iPhone when using the new wireless bluetooth ear buds allowing you to have no wires at all when taking a call.

    Finally it will send electric current into snot to dry it out, break it up and allow it to fall out cleanly - you'll never need to blow your nose again!

    Cheers
    edited August 2016 larrya
  • Reply 13 of 28
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,608member
    We can all dream of the perfect device, of course, but technology and engineering will determine what can actually be accomplished. The thing that concerns me about a wearable medical device are the liability issues. I've already noticed articles about people trying to sue Apple because the Watch health data (heart rate, pedometer, etc.) can be inaccurate at times. If such a device is monitoring critical things like blood pressure, blood sugar, whatever, it would seem to open Apple up to immense lawsuits alleging wrongful death, medical malpractice and the like. I don't know what the threshold is to declare something a medical device that requires certification.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,226member
    Shocked there is no comment yet about hoping this wild idea isn't responsible for the MacBook updates everybody knows are way overdue and further delays are clear that Tim Cook does NOTHING to keep Apple from completely collapsing because reasons. C'mon AI commentators, where's that brilliant analysis I depend on for my daily entertainment and stock advice?
    fastasleep
  • Reply 15 of 28
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,085member
    I can see Apple having an entire "Health" related product family, if executed corrected it could be huge. Specific products to monitor specific conditions, of course with some consistent aesthetics and functionality, with all the data being fed into the Apple Watch/iPhone and parsed through strong software. It's really an obvious industry to me. 
    eightzero
  • Reply 16 of 28
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    it would seem that the new hardware will not be a more advanced version of the Apple Watch
    That settles it: AW3. And pulse and heart-rate are the same thing using the same sensor. Only info I see here is blood-sugar monitor. I'm going to make a bet now that it's not ready until ~2019.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 17 of 28
    holyoneholyone Posts: 377member
    It's simple apple will want to keep the AW a fashion thing thus a separate health focused band on the other wrist makes sence
  • Reply 18 of 28
    jahajajahaja Posts: 23member
    Doesn't health care hardware – especially anything supposedly reliable for measuring glucose levels – need FDA approval? And isnt FDA applications public information? If so, wouldn't we see concrete application copies about 1-2 years before any such hardware would be released? Or can companies apply secretly and have the FDA approval announced whenever they like?
  • Reply 19 of 28
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    There is a device that measures blood glucose levels. You tape it to your upper arm (it has some kind of short soft needle). It lasts two weeks and during that time you can scan it as many times as you like with a dedicated smartwatch type scanner. Apparently there exists an Android app so you can use an Android smartphone (iPhone app in the works). This is the kind of condition specific health related hardware I can see coming. I believe this 'patch' is first iteration, but it shows great promise. The company that makes it is Abbott's and the device is called Freestyle Libre. Not available in North America but available in several European countries. I believe the company is Canadian. Here's a link to the Android App https://www.librelink.com


  • Reply 20 of 28
    holyoneholyone Posts: 377member
    lkrupp said:
    We can all dream of the perfect device, of course, but technology and engineering will determine what can actually be accomplished. The thing that concerns me about a wearable medical device are the liability issues. I've already noticed articles about people trying to sue Apple because the Watch health data (heart rate, pedometer, etc.) can be inaccurate at times. If such a device is monitoring critical things like blood pressure, blood sugar, whatever, it would seem to open Apple up to immense lawsuits alleging wrongful death, medical malpractice and the like. I don't know what the threshold is to declare something a medical device that requires certification.
    True apple will probably design advance tech that will work well but not make any promises to avoide adverse financial liability
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