Apple Wants to Create Its Own Health Biometric Chip

A job posting might've hinted at Apple's latest hardware investment -- new sensors for its Apple Watches.
Shelby Rogers

Apple might be in the process of creating a new chip to better store user health data. The 'leak' in information occurred when CNBC discovered a very unique job listing for the tech giant. 

Current rumors estimate that Apple will switch to building custom processors for its Mac units by 2020. The company already designs custom chips for its iPhone units. The Apple Watch is presently powered by their custom S3 chip.

A July 10 job posting from Apple's Health Sensing hardware team said, "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 secondary job posting mentioned by CNBC noted Apple is looking for engineers to "help develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors." Apple Watches use optical sensors to track heart rates of wearers. 


Apple has since removed the job postings. This could mean the positions were quickly filled or the company put the postings out prematurely. Apple has declined to comment to the media either confirming or denying the new sensor chips. 

Specialized chips help alleviate the workload of the watches' primary chips. For example, they might take into account depth and distance of a wearer during a run or a swim, allowing the primary chip to function more effectively on things like time or performance. 

By further developing its own hardware, Apple keeps intellectual property away from potentially bad third-party partnerships. 

"I could see one day in the future an optical sensing technology could be used to non-invasively measure glucose, and what a benefit in comparison to pin-sticking technologies that we have today that require a physical amount of blood to be measured," said Anil Sethi, a former director in Apple's health records group who now runs a health data start-up called Ciitizen in an interview with CNBC.  

The next iteration of the Apple Watch is due out next fall alongside the next set of iPhone models. The details about everything in that next update have been scarce and closely guarded -- something the iPhone 8 and iPhone X both lacked in their releases last year. 


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