Apple is building a team to make custom chips for health data

Julie Spitzer - Print  | 

Apple wants to build its own custom processor chips that could better understand health information collected from sensors — ultimately prolonging battery life and enhancing performance of its products — according to job listings reviewed by CNBC.

According to a July 10 job posting for Apple's Health Sensing hardware team, the iPhone maker is "looking for sensor ASIC architects to help develop ASICs for new sensors and sensing systems for future Apple products." ASIC refers to an application-specific integrated circuit, or a microchip designed for a specific application, such as a handheld computer or a wearable fitness tracker.

Historically, Apple has relied on third parties to design and supply components for its chips. The specialized ASIC chips, though, supplement products' primary chips by computing information coming off of sensors, such as depth and distance, so the products can work more efficiently. By developing its own chips, Apple would be able to protect its intellectual property from other health developers looking to build new sensors, according to CNBC.

It's not clear what the sensors would measure, but several job listings posted between June and August suggest it could be information from the body. One of the listings noted that the team wants to bring on an engineer who can "help develop health, wellness and fitness sensors," while another said the team was looking to keep working with optical sensors, which the Apple Watch uses to measure heart rate.

Apple declined to comment on CNBC's report.

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