Apple bulking up medical team with strategic hires ahead of rumored iWatch launch

Summary:Apple has snapped up at least half a dozen experts in biomedicine and other medical fields. But will we see an iWatch this year? Don't hold your breath.

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Image: CNET/CBS Interactive

A number of experts in medical technology have recently joined Apple, underlining further rumors that the iPhone and iPad maker may be close to breaking onto the medical or health-tracking scene.

Earlier reports pointed to the hiring of Divya Nag, a medical device expert, to Apple's in-house medical tech team, according to sources speaking to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman late last month. On Monday, the Reuters news agency reported a number of changes to LinkedIn profiles of medical professionals who now work at Apple, suggesting further efforts to bulk out this elusive team.

This includes biomedical engineers from Vital Connect, Sano Intelligence, and O2 MedTech. Another one of the well-known companies, Masimo, creates pulse oximetry devices, which can detect and determine respiratory functions, while others create heart-rate sensors and body temperature detectors.

Apple has poached a number of senior officials at these companies, LinkedIn changes suggest, including chief medical officers and chief technology officers, and other senior expert engineers.

According to the news agency, one unnamed mobile health executive sat down with the "iWatch team," which still has not yet been confirmed by Apple, and said the company wanted to move "beyond wearable devices" such as its own health and fitness platform.

It comes just months after Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the sensor-based technology market, such as Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT) market is set to "explode."

At the time of Apple's second quarter earnings call on April 23 , Apple had not announced anything new. Just a few days later, the company announced a number of refreshed MacBook Air models .

But Cook is falling back on his previous comments that the company would deliver a number of new product categories this year.

Apple typically dishes out software announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June , giving developers and app-makers enough time to adjust to the new features and technologies.

The company is expected to announce the latest mobile and desktop platforms, iOS 8 and OS X 10.10, but may not announce anything relating to the highly anticipated iWatch, according to another report.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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