Wearable Tech World Feature Article
February 05, 2014

Apple Furthers iWatch Rumors with New Hire of Sleep Researcher

If Apple does, indeed, have a rumored wearable technology product in the making (it’s being called the “iWatch” by the press), what might we expect from it? While it seems a safe guess that it will facilitate communications, it’s also a safe bet that it will have some health and fitness monitoring capabilities to it, as a device worn near the skin can check temperature and heart rate fairly easily, and have motion sensors to detect distances walked or run. But beyond that is anyone’s guess.

While the iWatch isn’t fact yet, it seems a logical step. The company isn’t likely to remain behind arch-rival Samsung, which has its Galaxy Gear watch, and Sony, which is currently offering its Smartwatch 2. But as is usual with Apple, they will try to turn the idea on its ear and bring the “wow” factor back into the marketplace. (Not to mention that way back in 2008, Apple co-founder dropped a hint in an interview that the company was looking at the idea of wearable technology.) While there are no predictions for a release date of the product available, Bloomberg clearly missed with its prediction of late 2013.

A new hint in the capabilities of a potential iWatch came into light this week with Apple’s hiring of sleep researcher Roy J.E.M Raymann from Philips Research, according to 9to5Mac.com, which notes that Raymann has done extensive research on wearable sensors and the miniaturization of sensors with a goal of tracking sleep and alertness activity. So could a future iWatch offer apps related to sleep? It seems a distinct possibility.

Sleep apps already exist. There is the Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson app, which is a guided mediation into sleep with the help of a self-help guru, the “personal sleep assistant” called pzizz, and the iPhone app Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, which necessitates that you put your iPhone near you while you sleep so it can measure your movement and calculate your sleep patterns.

Other Apple hires that would appear to be related to the iWatch project include hardware and software engineering, medical sensor, manufacturing, and fitness experts. Ultimately, Apple may hope to debut a product that can measure an array of human biometrics, from vital signs to fitness to movement and even down to blood sugar levels and hydration.

If you are the sort of person who remains creeped out by how much your phone already knows about you, it’s likely that the iWatch – if and when it comes – won’t be for you. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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