Why is Apple recruiting medical engineers?

Apple 5th Ave

Tech giant Apple has sparked rumours of new developments in digital health with its latest recruitment drive

It all started late last year, when Apple CEO Tim Cook told The Telegraph that while he wouldn’t be putting Apple Watch forward for FDA approval, he would consider putting “something adjacent” forward: “We don’t want to put the watch through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. I wouldn’t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it — maybe an app, maybe something else.”

There’s no smoke without fire, and the online community seems to agree that Cook’s statement is confirmation that Apple Watch only just scratches the surface of the firm’s plans in the digital health space.

And now, according to Buzzfeed, the firm is putting wheels in motion for a future release in the area, with recruitment ads for medical engineers appearing online.

In addition to that, Buzzfeed spotted that some big names in medtech have recently joined Apple’s ranks. In particular are Anne Shelchuk, formerly of ultrasound company Zonare, Craig Slyfield, an expert on human bone 3D visualisation, and perhaps most interestingly in the wearables field, Jay Mung, who previously researched sensor algorithms for Medtronic’s continuous glucose monitoring system.

So what exactly is Apple looking for? All four of the new job postings are in ‘Health Technology’, and consist of two engineers, a project manager and an R&D technician. Any prospective biomedical studies engineer would be required to offer “Design and execution of human user studies for providing reliable, revealing data for evaluating feasibility of health, wellness, and fitness sensors, systems, and applications” according to the job posting.

Given that Apple recently made headlines for potential inaccuracies with its sensor technology, it’s perhaps no surprise that the group is looking to sharpen up its capabilities in that area. Could it point to an increased focus on health for any potential new iteration of Apple Watch? Or perhaps, as Cook suggests, the firm is thinking about something else entirely.

 


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