3 Hints Apple's iWatch Will Have mHealth Capabilities

The functionality of the in-development iWatch, Apple's entrant in the smartwatch market, has been the subject of much speculation. Three recent developments suggest at least some of these functionalities will allow the wearable to act as an mHealth device with monitoring capabilities.

  1. Last year, Apple hired several new executives with medical monitoring device expertise, including Michael O'Reilly, MD, the former CMO of monitoring device manufacturer Masimo.
  2. In December 2013, Apple executives met with representatives from the Food and Drug Administration to discuss mobile medical applications. Mark A. McAndrew, a partner with the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister who noticed the meetings on the FDA's calendar, told The New York Times the attendance of high-level leadership from both organizations means "[t]hey are either trying to get the lay of the land for regulatory pathways with medical devices and apps and this was an initial meeting or Apple has been trying to push something through the FDA for a while and they've had hangups."
  1. Investors Business Daily reported Monday Apple may seek subsidies from health insurers to help consumers afford the iWatches. The report is based on a note to investors from a Cowen & Co analyst, which reads in part: "We continue to believe it is possible the product (iWatch) is backstopped by some sort of insurance subsidization model similar to the carrier subsidization model for iPhone."

Apple is expected to officially announce the iWatch sometime this year, according to the Times.

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