With Apple's iWatch's announcement fast approaching, and recent news regarding the FDA's involvement with the accessory, there is one specific feature that still seems to be up in the air: will the new high-end gadget feature blood glucose monitoring and other potential health sensors like it?
It seems like forever since rumors started running rampant about Apple's upcoming foray into wearables, even long before their filing of the trademark "iWatch" name (via ZDNet) last year. A the supposed upcoming announcement day approaches, so do the inevitable rumors, including the potential for blood glucose monitoring. Lucky for us, these rumors are based on information received from The Apple Toolbox's filing of a Freedom of Information Act Request regarding Apple's interaction with the FDA in December of last year. While its implications are vague, they are at least reliable.
One of the more interesting notes of the meeting, according to this Freedom of Information Act Request, was that "Apple believes there is the opportunity to do more with devices, and that there may be a moral obligation to do more." This is something that may rule out the idea that all the health applications that Apple is bringing to the table with iOS 8 are only to be used for educational purposes, but rather for diagnostic purposes.
"The current mobile medical app guidance indicates that FDA does not view apps that are purely educational or informational as medical devices. Apps that actively measure something are considered diagnostic. For instance, a glucometer would be considered diagnostic because it measures blood sugar; it would not be considered merely information although it "informs" the user of the blood sugar level. The display screen of the glucometer would not be regulated, as it only receives the data and shows it. The software that does the measuring is the part that is regulated."
Despite this, some reports remain skeptical. In a recent article listing potential sensors in the iWatch, Macworld ruled out blood glucose monitors as a potential censor, citing Ries Robinson, CEO of InLight Solutions, who claims "[he knows] a lot of the guys who are working at Apple now, and they would all agree that [a smartwatch capable of measuring blood glucose] is a little nutty."
At this point, the technology to measure something of such importance may not be there, but Apple isn't one to plan for the immediate future, but rather set the foundation for the long term. Were the iWatch to debut this October sans the rumored blood glucose monitor, one could argue that it will only be a matter of time before the technology catches up with the imagination. When it does, I'm sure Apple will be happy to have made friends of the FDA as early on as it did.
Any thoughts at the potential for blood glucose monitoring in the iWatch? What does this say about the future of wearables in general?