Apple is beefing up a team to explore making its own health chips

“Apple has a team exploring a custom processor that can make better sense of health information coming off sensors from deep inside its devices, job listings show,” Jordan Novet and Christina Farr report for CNBC. “The effort hints at Apple’s ability to pump out custom chips on as-needed basis, reflecting a greater level of vertical integration than other technology companies. Building custom chips for narrow functions can help Apple add new features and improve efficiency of its hardware while protecting its intellectual property from would-be imitators.”

“Apple, which surpassed a trillion-dollar market capitalization earlier this month, designs chips for iPhones, iPads, AirPods and Apple Watch,” Novet and Farr report. “Bloomberg reported earlier this year on Apple’s chip-development plans for Mac computers.”

“Several Apple products, including iPhone and Apple Watch, include health-monitoring features. The company’s areas of interest so far include exercise, cardiac health, and sleep quality through its acquisition of the health monitor Beddit. CNBC previously reported that it’s also working on the so-called biomedical holy grail: continuous and non-invasive blood-sugar monitoring,” Novet and Farr report. “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.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple continues to work to distance and protect themselves from the slavish copiers of the world which, as we’ve seen, are legion.

I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004

• In order to build the best products, you have to own the primary technologies. Steve felt that if Apple could do that — make great products and great tools for people — they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.Apple CEO Tim Cook, March 18, 2015

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The once and future OS for Apple – December 8, 2017
Apple ships more microprocessors than Intel – October 2, 2017
Apple embarrasses Intel – June 14, 2017
Apple developing new chip for Macintosh in test of Intel independence – February 1, 2017


  1. “Building custom chips for narrow functions . . .”

    Narrow? Really?

    Health is a huge market and custom chips that go a long way in capturing sub-markets like Diabetes would be very powerful – especially if it can be included in the Apple Watch. Toss in other features like PulseOx and the competition is going to have problems.

    Health would be the path Apple would take to be worth $2 Trillion. Who can think of another market that powerful?

    1. Apple at $2T? Be thankful Apple reached $1T with a P/E of 18. There’s no guarantee Apple can even hold $1T with Chinese tariffs on the horizon. However, I’d love to see Apple build some devices with health chips even if they’re not in AppleWatches. I sure wish Apple could figure out how to build a diabetes non-invasive sensor just to make it easier for those with the disease to measure their blood sugar.

      When I hear about NVidia designing those ray-tracing processors, I think about Apple being able to do the same for health processors. It would be a great achievement for Apple. Apple should have enough money to do what most companies couldn’t possibly afford to do. All they need is the right people. I’d always wished Apple could build a diagnostic device like Dr. McCoy always used on Star Trek. Hey, why not?

    2. They’re talking about a “narrow”, or specific function. It has nothing to do with the size of the market. A CPU is a general purpose processor. These would be for a handful of specific functions.

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