By Jim Karpen on Wed, 02/12/2014
MobiHealthNews posted a number of iWatch scoops Monday based on sources with "limited but direct knowledge of Apple's plans...." They reported that Apple has over 200 employees working on the project. That suggests Apple is really serious about this new device, not just experimenting with prototypes. In fact, according to AppleInsider, a recent job posting by Apple was seeking an engineer to head up development of "new platforms as of now unannounced." AppleInsider suggests this may be referring to the forthcoming iWatch platform. MobiHealthNews also reports that the iWatch will be a peripheral device rather than standalone. This we expected—that the iWatch, like the Pebble and other smartwatches, will work in conjunction with your iOS device. Also, their sources say that the iWatch will be simpler than had been rumored: no glucose sensing, for example. Apparently the December meeting Apple had with high-level FDA officials was to ensure their iWatch wouldn't need to be regulated, which means there will be minimal analysis of medical data.
MobiHealthNews also talks about Apple's rumored Healthbook app. Their sources were unfamiliar with the purported name of the app, but did say that conceptually Apple is moving in this direction of creating a platform for developers and wearable device makers that would collect health and fitness data and that would provide analysis and feedback of that data within the limits allowed by the FDA. Apple's goal, their sources say, is to bring health tracking to a mass market, not just those obsessed with personal data. Features would include tracking data such as exercise, diet, sleep, stress, and taking one's medications. The app may also be able to report data from FDA-approved monitoring devices that connect with one's iOS device.
In addition, on Tuesday AppleInsider reported that the crystal sapphire that Apple will begin manufacturing this month at their new facility in Arizona will likely be destined for the iWatch rather than the iPhone. While Apple does have a patent on using this material as a laminate to make an iPhone display nearly indestructible, the post on AppleInsider, citing Chinese websites, says that such a display would significantly raise the cost of manufacturing the iPhone, so is unlikely. Instead, the manufactured sapphire will be used as a laminate on the 2-inch diagonal iWatch display. And presumably also for the current use in the iPhone: as a protective cover for the iSight camera lens and Touch ID.