Apple pulls experts from medical field to reportedly work on iWatch

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Recent talent acquisitions at Apple have added fuel to the rumors that it is moving full-steam ahead with development of the iWatch.

The company, which hasn't released a new line of products since the iPad in 2010, has been snatching researchers from various fields, including biomedicine and sensor technology, pointing toward a coalescing of expertise likely focused on wearables.

According to a Reuters report, Apple has acquired at least half a dozen experts in biomedicine alone, and the company is still actively recruiting from related professions. The iWatch, which the company has yet to officially announce, has been rumored to feature medical-centric apps including UV sensors and glucose and hydration tracking.

Apple CEO Tim Cook referred to the wearable market as "ripe for exploration" nearly a year ago. However, any potential exploration has been kept hidden thus far, leading some investors, such as Carl Icahn, to publicly wonder about new products. Analysts worry about the company's sustained relevance if it can't become a player in the wearable market.

But silence is business as usual for Cupertino, and experts making predictions about the iWatch are likely off the mark. Similar rumors circulated, including dozens of supposedly leaked designs that were all debunked, preceding the iPad reveal.

The recent Apple hires, however, certainly point to an interest in biometrics, according to Reuters. Some biomedical engineers Apple acquired include veterans of Masimo, a company that works to non-invasively measure patients' oxygen saturation; Vital Connect, a firm that tracks vitals like heart rate and body temperature; and O2 Med Tech, which works with biosensors.

Meanwhile, no leaders have emerged in the smartwatch arena, so Apple is under no pressure from competing products to soon launch the iWatch. Nike recently announced that it was laying off most of its FuelBand team to focus on brand appeal across third-party devices, while Samsung's recent foray into the market was panned by consumers and critics alike. The ever-present Google has revealed plans for Android Wear, but nothing concrete has surfaced.

For more:
- read the Reuters report
- read about various iWatch rumors here and here
- read Tim Cook's take on the wearable industry
- check out the slideshow of proposed iPads that almost had it right

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