Apple looks to improve health tracking with custom chips
A report from CNBC claims that Apple is working on its own custom chips for processing biometric data from its devices.
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We know the Cupertino outfit has its eyes on the lucrative health market. And while its smartwatch has a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS and a barometric altimeter for tracking movement heart rate, a custom processor would make better use of this data. It would also add new features and improve battery life.
The Apple Watch is currently powered by the whole system in package, or SiP. It includes a mix of supplier parts although the optical heart rate sensor is custom designed. The company currently uses custom chips in its iPhones.
The clue is in job listings. And CNBC spotted several from Apple referring to sensor processors and fitness sensors. This could be a hint it is planning to develop a future chip dedicated to processing data from health sensors.
“We are looking for sensor ASIC architects to help develop ASICs for new sensors and sensing systems for future Apple products. We have openings for analog as well as digital ASIC architects“, a July 10 job posting writes.
Another from earlier this month simply states the team wants to bring on an engineer who can “help develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors.” A June listing is seeking someone to work with optical sensors.
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The report adds that it’s possible the job listings could be for current biomedical sensors and not new ones.
“It’s also possible that Apple’s chip hires are related to current biomedical sensors, rather than future ones. Heart rate monitoring to detect signs of disease like atrial fibrillation, for instance, would be improved through more continuous monitoring“, says CNBC.
The timing of these job postings indicates that its unlikely a custom health chip could make its way into the next iteration of Apple’s smartwatch. Due out in September, it is rumoured to come with a larger screen, refreshed design and enhanced heart rate tracking.