A rather vague Chinese report claims that Apple is working on a new ‘killer device’ in the health field, due to be released next year. The somewhat hyperbolic piece in the Economic Daily News also claims that new health-sensing tech will be built into the 2017 iPhone …

The report gives no specifics beyond a claim that the device will measure heart-rate and blood sugar. The Apple Watch of course already measures heart-rate, and while blood sugar measurement is undoubtedly on the cards, it hardly seems to amount to a killer product.

While some are suggesting the piece could refer to a next-generation Apple Watch, this seems unlikely. Tim Cook specifically said last year that future health products would be kept separate from the Watch to avoid FDA approvals slowing the pace of innovation. Cook said that you could imagine health-related things working alongside the watch.

We don’t want to put the watch through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) process. I wouldn’t mind putting something adjacent to the watch through it, but not the watch, because it would hold us back from innovating too much, the cycles are too long. But you can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it — maybe an app, maybe something else.

Indeed, fear of subjecting the Watch to the FDA approvals process may have been the reason that Apple has not enabled O2 saturation despite a teardown finding a pulse oximeter in the wearable.

The most plausible scenario is probably for Apple to offer watch bands with built-in sensors, with blood sugar likely to lead the way on the health side, and O2 saturation the top contender on the fitness front.

Via Makotakara. Image: Technobezz.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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