Apple’s looking to create custom chips for healthcare purposes

Apple hopes to develop a custom processor that it will use for health tracking purposes. In doing so, the company expects to add new features and improve the efficiency of its hardware while also protecting its intellectual property, according to CNBC.

The company’s so-called Health Sensing hardware team is already in place and looking to make new hires. A July 10 job posting, for example, explains that “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.”

An Aug. 1 job posting, meanwhile, says it hopes to hire an engineer who can “help develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors.”

ASIC is a custom-sensing application-specific integrated circuit from Broadcom that’s found in the third-generation Apple Watch.

Apple’s interest in the healthcare market continues to evolve and has picked up the pace considerably since the first Apple Watch arrived in 2015. Today, many products, including Apple Watch and iPhone, include health-monitoring features. To date, for example, the company has gotten involved in tracking exercise, cardiac health, and sleep quality. It’s also said to be working on a non-invasive blood-sugar monitoring system.

Little else is known about Apple’s current project, although CNBC has some ideas.

It suggests Apple’s hires could be related to current biomedical sensors, not future ones, explaining “Heart rate monitoring to detect signs of disease like atrial fibrillation, for instance, would be improved through more continuous monitoring.”

Regardless of the reason, it’s clear Apple plans on getting more involved in healthcare in the years ahead. Some of its future plans could be announced early next month when new iOS devices and the fourth-generation Apple Watch should be revealed.

The next Apple Watch is expected to include a design update that features a more prominent, bezel-free display. With the watchOS 5 update arriving this fall, the wearable device is adding activity competitions, workout updates, advanced running features, and more.

Stay tuned.