Rumors are rife that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is exploring new product categories to release in 2014, and a report on Sunday added weight to the speculation saying that the company is looking to expand into cars and medical devices.
According to the report from the San Francisco Chronicle, Apple is currently working with Tomlinson Holman, a well-known audio engineer who invented THX and 10.2 surround sound, to develop a sensor technology that can help predict heart attacks by studying the sound made by blood as it flows through the arteries. The report said that if the new technology becomes successful, it could open up an extensive medical device market to Apple.
“It could be part of a larger portfolio of solutions aimed at the broader ecosystem of health care,” Bill Kreher, an analyst with Edward Jones Investments in St. Louis, told the Chronicle. “That would be fascinating to watch.”
While the Chronicle did not specifically mention any device that could feature the new cardiac monitor, some reports have suggested that it could be incorporated into the rumored iWatch as the device would require to be constantly connected to the user’s body.
Rumors about the iWatch featuring health-related applications are not new.
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According to reports earlier this month, Apple has hired Roy J.E.M Raymann, a sleep expert from Philips Research, to work on the iWatch project. Raymann’s addition to the iWatch team suggests that Apple could be looking to enable the iWatch to track and improve sleep, while also tracking other health-related data.
When it comes to Apple’s interests in the automotive industry, the Chronicle reported that Adrian Perica, the company’s mergers and acquisitions chief, met with Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino, Calif., last spring to discuss a potential buyout -- a matter that obviously also got the attention of analysts.
“I know this is radical and potentially 'transformative' but this would radically alter Apple's growth profile,” Adnaan Ahmad, a German investment banking analyst, wrote in an “open letter” to Apple in October 2013, in which he urged the company to acquire Tesla.
“In Elon Musk, you could strike up a partnership and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple's innovation drive.”
Apple has shown some interest in automotive technologies in the past. The company unveiled its “iOS in the car” feature at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June -- a technology that allows users to connect their iOS devices to an in-car display either through wired or wireless connections.
The technology also has led Apple into partnerships with car makers such as BMW (FRA:BMW), Daimler’s (FRA:DAI) Mercedes-Benz division, General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) and Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC).