Earlier this week, Financial Times reported that Apple was hiring aggressively for the iWatch project.
9to5Mac provides some interesting details about Apple’s new hires, which gives us some idea of the scope of the project.
Mark Gruman of 9to5Mac claims that according to his sources, Apple has been hiring in the health sensor field:
Based on new hires, it seems that Apple’s interest in sensors focuses on the ability to measure glucose and other body level information. With this data, the product could inform users of vital information in a non-invasive way. These sensors could also pick up more data to give a user a snapshot of their health, which would be ideal for fitness applications.
To assist with the development of these sensors, Apple has hired several scientists and executives from multiple sensor developers. Some notable firms who lost employees to Apple are AccuVein, C8 MediSensors, and Senseonics.
According to AccuVein’s website, they specialize in medical imaging solutions, which “allows health care professionals to see a map of peripheral veins on the skin’s surface with the goal of improving venipuncture, the most commonly performed invasive medical procedure, and other vascular access procedures”.
C8 MediSensors was a developer of non-invasive continuous glucose monitors for diabetic patients. However, it ceased operations in February, which is when Apple went on a hiring spree.
Senseonics develops transformative glucose monitoring products. Apple has apparently hired a high-profile employee from the company to work on biometric sensors for the device.
The report also provides structure of Apple’s iWatch group. Here’s details about who is doing what according to the report:
- Bob Mansfield, the Senior Vice President of Technologies is reportedly leading the iWatch project. You may remember, Mansfield came out of retirement, and agreed to head the Technologies group during the major management reshuffle last year.
- Former Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch who joined Apple recently will be focusing on the “overall software vision” for iWatch. His team is comprised of former iPod hardware and software designers. It also includes members of the original iPhone team that worked on the assembly and miniaturization of internal components.
- Hardware designer is leading a team that is working on technologies and mechanics of the device. He has a team that specializes in sensors, chip, battery/power efficiency experts working for him.
- Jony Ive and his team is working on developing the user-facing hardware and software.
- Jay Blahnik, a famous fitness consultant and who helped Nike develop FuelBand, is also working on the project. It is not clear if he has joined Apple or working as a consultant.
- There have been rumors that Apple has a team of 100 product designers working on the project. Apple has also hired Paul Deneve, the former CEO of French Fashion house Yves Saint Laurent who will be working on “special projects” and will report directly to Tim Cook. This has sparked off speculations that Cook has hired Deneve to figure out how to sell wearable devices.
Tim Cook recently said wearable tech was an area of ‘profound’ interest for the company. He praised the Apple has also been busy filing trademark for the “iWatch” name in several countries, which indicates that it is gearing up to launch a smartwatch.
The latest rumors indicate that Apple will launch iWatch sometime next year, but it looks like health and fitness tracking will be one of the major features of the device.
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