Apple to target blood pressure and diabetes management next, Fast Company predicts

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently highlighted the company's future in healthcare during an interview with CNBC, leaving many — such as Fast Company — to question what Apple will do in the healthcare space next.

The company has long been interested in expanding into healthcare. In fact, just before Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died in 2011, Mr. Cook and others promised him the company would dive into the industry.

"Steve was so disillusioned with what he saw during his own illness, and that began a discussion about how Apple could play a significant role in improving the healthcare system and healthcare monitoring," Tim Bajarin, president and Apple analyst at market research firm Creative Strategies, told Fast Company.

Three areas Fast Company predicts Apple will tackle next:

1. Blood pressure. "While the [Apple] Watch's EKG has already positively affected the lives of some users, it's not exactly a mainstream feature that applies to all or even most [Apple] Watch wearers. A blood pressure monitor, however, might come closer to that mark. The CDC says about 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, or one of every three adults. That's mainstream."

2. Diabetes management. "Apple is said to be chasing the holy grail of a contactless means of sampling blood sugar levels. The company would like to measure blood sugar levels using a light-emitting sensor that could, perhaps, shine light down into the bloodstream in a user's wrist and identify blood sugar molecules."

3. Sleep science. "Last year Apple bought the Finnish sleep science company Beddit, which makes a thin sensor pad that slips underneath the user's mattress and can detect things like sleep time, heart rate, breathing, snoring, ...  bedroom temperature and humidity ... In December Apple began selling the first updated version of the Beddit product since acquiring the company. It would make sense for Apple to eventually build some of the Beddit functionality into iOS or watchOS."

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