A new rumor about an Apple health gadget is spreading out of Taiwan, and it could be a new product that is separate from the Apple Watch.
Apple is talking to suppliers about a new product that is packed with sensors and can collect data like heart rate, pulse, blood sugar, and other biometric statistics, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reports (via Apple Insider).
Apple is reportedly in talks with a slew of manufacturing partners, including TSMC, Foxconn, TPK, Zhen Ding Technology, and others. The device would launch at the same time as the 2017 iPhone, according to the report.
Rumor has it that Apple has been working on a sensor that can measure blood sugar since before the Apple Watch launched. But Alphabet's Verily has reportedly had trouble building its own "noninvasive" glucometer integrated into a contact lens, and biotech professionals have told me the technology isn't ready for prime time.
Apple will need its sensors to be noninvasive, meaning they won't require users to draw blood or break the skin.
Apple clearly has long-term plans in health. The company has hired doctors and nurses and also runs around-the-clock biometric labs.
A device separate from the Apple Watch would be surprising, though Apple CEO Tim Cook has talked about a separate health product that could require approval from the Food and Drug Administration. He has also talked about adding more sensors to the Apple Watch, most notably at a conference earlier this year.
"I love the Watch," Cook said. "One day, this is my prediction, we will look back and we will wonder: How can I ever have gone without the Watch? Because the holy grail of the watch is being able to monitor more and more of what's going on in the body."
"We've gotten into the health arena," he said in another interview. "We started looking at wellness, and that took us to pulling a string to think about research; then we pulled a string a little further, and it took us to some patient care stuff; and we pulled a string that's taking us into some other stuff."
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