Report: iWatch Won’t Be as Advanced as Expected

Source: iWatch Concept by Todd Hamilton

According to a new report from MobiHealth News, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) much-anticipated iWatch won’t be as advanced as some have recently speculated. Apple has hired a plethora of health experts recently who are rumored to be working on health-related sensors and data for the iWatch, but MobiHealth News’s sources have said that the device won’t be able to monitor things like blood sugar or hydration and so won’t need to be monitored by the Food and Drug Administration.

The sources also said that, like other smartwatches currently available on the market, the iWatch will be dependent on interacting with a user’s iPhone and won’t be able to operate independently. While it’s possible the device could have WiFi capabilities, it won’t be like the equivalent of a wrist-worn smartphone. Even though the device won’t be a replacement for the iPhone, it will be more advanced than current health-tracking smartwatches like the Nike (NYSE:NKE) FuelBand. The FuelBand records data through a point system, but the iWatch will be able to more accurately record data like the number of calories burned.

It was reported earlier this month that back in December some Apple executives met with officials from the FDA, leading to more speculation about whether the iWatch would need to get FDA approval in order to function the way Apple wants it to. MobiHealth said that the meeting was actually for Apple executives to learn more about the FDA’s rules regarding mobile medical devices and to ensure that the iWatch won’t need FDA approval.

Much of the FDA’s concern would be over the rumored Healthbook app on the device, which will be responsible for monitoring medical and health information. According to the FDA’s rules, the app can’t analyze too much medical information if Apple wants to avoid the necessity of FDA approval. Things that the app will be able to monitor, according to MobiHealth’s sources, include sleep patterns, calories burned, diet, and stress levels. The device could also remind you when to take medication and help monitor long-term medical conditions by using third-party data from medical apps that have already been cleared by the FDA. Monitoring data on women’s health and pregnancy is another possibility.

Analysts are already feeling optimistic about the iWatch’s possibilities for padding Apple’s financials. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said in a recent report that she believes sales of the iWatch could beat the iPad’s opening sales figure of $12 billion. She says the reasoning behind her confidence in the iWatch is that it is being positioned and marketed as a “natural accessory” to the company’s other iOS devices, such as the iPad and iPhone, rather than debuting in a completely new product category that consumers are unfamiliar with and don’t yet know how best to utilize. Huberty believes the device will appeal to both first-time Apple buyers and current owners of Apple products.

Overall Apple’s plan with the device, according to MobiHealth’s sources, will be to encourage a wider variety of people to engage with health monitoring rather than the small, data-obsessed demographic that typically uses such devices now. Given the prevalence of Apple’s smartphones and tablets, the high number of people already engaged with Apple’s interface, and the company’s success at making its devices intuitive and easy to use, it’s likely that Apple make health monitoring popular with the wider public.

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