Apple is reportedly working on building a “full health and fitness services platform,” which would resemble and be modelled on its App Store software marketplace, according to a new report by Reuters. Apple is also said to be ramping up its hiring of health tech and hardware experts, which is an ongoing trend that’s been noticed by other observers in the past.
The latest hire at Apple is StartX Med founder Divya Nag, who created the Stanford-backed startup accelerator to foster and grow companies and entrepreneurs that want to build technology (including software and hardware) related to health and medicine. Other recent hires include Masimo Corp chief medical officer Michael O’Reilly, Vital Connect VP of biosensor technology Ravi Narasimhan, embedded sensors expert Nima Ferdosi and a few others, too.
Apple’s hiring spree is said to be about talent, not necessarily any specific tech from the companies these people were poached from. It’s about building an iWatch, which will reportedly have health tracking features, but it’s also more broadly about building a health platform. Other companies, including Apple rival Samsung, have built their own health and fitness platforms to help convince people to buy their devices over those of others, but mostly these feel half-baked. There’s still plenty of opportunity to build something mature and complete, and it makes sense to roll up all the energy going into building startup software and hardware health products.
Rumors have been swirling about Nike dropping its hardware efforts in favor of partnering with Apple on deeper integration between their software and Apple devices, and that could be something that does indeed signal a wider platform push. An App Store for health sounds like something that doesn’t necessarily to be broken out from the main product, but at this stage, it’s too early to tell how similar or different such a project might be.