According to the latest research note from Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty, which we discovered via Quartz’s Matt Phillips, this list of Apple’s most recent hires highlights what the company is focusing on the most. And — no surprise — there is a great deal of focus on wearable and health-related research.
As you can see from this list of 17 notable hires, Apple has hired at least nine important people to focus on different aspects of wearables, including research for blood, sleep, and respiratory-related technologies.
Among that group of wearable-focused employees is Jay Blahnik and Ben Shaffer, who previously helped build Nike’s FuelBand fitness tracker, as well as Paul Deneve, the former Yves Saint Laurent CEO who now heads up Apple’s “special projects” division.
Other notable hires on this list include Kevin Lynch, the former CTO at Adobe; Angela Ahrendts, the former Burberry CEO who now heads up Apple’s retail business; and Beats executives Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre, and Ian Rogers. Rogers is now head of iTunes; Iovine and Dre will focus on unknown roles within Apple having to do with content and curation.
But again, the main focus of this list obviously revolves around wearables.
For years, it’s been rumoured that Apple would release a “watch that double[s] as a computer, two-way radio, mapping device or television,” as The New York Times’ Nick Bilton first put it. The device would marry the looks of a luxury wristwatch with the powerful sensors found in today’s fitness wristbands. And, of course, it would also include familiar elements from the iPhone and iPad shrunken down and reconfigured to work on your wrist.
While this list includes only nine recent hires working on Apple’s wearable device, The Financial Times last year reported on Apple’s “aggressive” hiring push, which may have brought nearly 100 engineers and designers into the fold to help build the company’s new wearable gadget.
This year, while the rumours of Apple’s “iWatch” have heated up, the company has reportedly been striking partnerships
with health institutions, hospitals, and health insurance companies around the U.S. to help develop and distribute its HealthKit software, announced in June, which will reportedly be a major part of the iWatch experience.
HealthKit, as Apple describes it, “allows apps that provide health and fitness services to share their data with the new Health app and with each other.” The user can decide how much of their health-related information they want to share with third-parties.
The idea behind HealthKit is to get people to be more mindful about their health; Apple can’t prescribe medicine or conduct surgeries, but if it can collect and measure users’ biometric data, they can offer preventative solutions — useful, personalised advice to heed before an issue becomes an emergency.
With this jam-packed “special projects” division, there will be even more pressure on Apple to deliver a wearable device that makes health-related technologies sexy and desirable.
Apple will reportedly unveil its iWatch in October.
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