Apple's Increasing Focus on Health Seen in Recent Hiring Trends, New Board Member

Apple has been talking for years about the role it wants to play in human health, led by the Apple Watch and its array of health-related features. With the Apple Watch maturing and Apple increasing its integration of health-focused hardware and software, several pieces of evidence suggest the company is positioning itself for an even bigger expansion in that direction.

apple health keynote
According to trends compiled by Linkedin and seen by MacRumors, over the past year, Apple's open job listings in health-related fields have increased by over 220%, with a significant portion of the increase coming in just the last several months. Apple's health-focused hiring has been the fastest-growing segment for the company over the past year, followed most closely by sales and IT specialists, such as in cloud computing and security, according to the data.

Apple has stepped up features and services related to consumers' health over the past several years, with much of the credit being given to the Apple Watch. Apple has slowly transformed the Apple Watch into a more integral health tool, incorporating more sensors, such as blood oxygen, with on-device machine intelligence to notice possibly alarming trends in heart rate and more.

In another sign of its aspirations in health, Apple this week announced that Johnson & Johnson chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky has joined its Board of Directors. Gorsky is a "visionary in healthcare" who brings with him "tremendous insight, experience, and passion for technology to the cause of improving lives and building healthier communities," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. Gorsky joins former Genentech Chairman and CEO Arthur Levinson on Apple's board, giving Apple significant health-related expertise on its board.

As for Apple's job listings, many of them focus on health research rather than specific product development roles. Apple has invested heavily in health research with the Research app, pursuing it as the first step for any future health features on the iPhone or Apple Watch. Apple's health research efforts of course also internally support the development of new products and features.

apple research app
One particular job listing posted earlier in the summer seeks a manager to "lead human study efforts in collecting data to support development and validation of new health sensors and algorithms." Another job listing seeks a more product-oriented candidate that will "work closely with other designers, writers, engineers, scientists, researchers, and business partners to concept, prototype, and design elegant experiences that help our customers be in control of their health."

Apple has branched out regarding health, moving away from only providing users data from sensors on the ‌iPhone‌ and Apple Watch, but also working with hospitals and medical institutions to create a broader ecosystem. With the Health app on iOS 15, Apple added functionality for users to share health data with family and close friends, COVID-19 vaccine records, blood glucose highlights, and more.

The centerpiece of Apple's health roadmap is the Apple Watch, and reports suggest the watch will continue to mature as an independent health device in the years to come. Users may be able to measure their body temperature and even their blood pressure in future iterations of the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Body Temperature Finished
"Apple's most-important contribution to mankind has been in health," Apple CEO ‌Tim Cook‌ said in an interview in January of 2019, just months after the Apple Watch had gained the ability for users to take an ECG right on their wrist. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the company's recent health-related hiring trends.

Top Rated Comments

TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
12 months ago
Fitness #1. I’m glad Apple is expending more in the health industry.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DeepWebinar Avatar
12 months ago

If they really cared about human health, they wouldn’t stop making LCD iPhones
They care about Health™, not health.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thejadedmonkey Avatar
12 months ago

Healthcare industry is very conservative and needs some breakthroughs on new technologies, and embrace it.
I just a few days ago read an article from the verge how healthcare providers still do not embrace AW, there is so much education still needed and research data will help.
They're not actually conservative. I work in the field, and we're using AWS, Azure, Kubernetes, etc. We have multiple data centers, fallback data centers, It's a really high level of tech, to be honest. I'm actually in a meeting right now discussing how we can support Android 12 theming in our app. That's maybe 12 months out from being cutting edge.

What is conservative is anything related to HIPAA. And the majority of HIPAA related data is stored in EMRs, which are 3rd party vendors. Epic, for example, holds 54% of all medical records for Americans. And they're nice... and... slow... which severely limits how much you can do. IIRC, they don't support Apple Watch yet either, which is a major reason why we don't support the Apple Watch.

The other issue with using IoT devices to get health data is that you need to make them reliable and fool-proof enough that you can hand them out to end users who have no medical training and use still trust the data that they give back.

Imagine asking a cardiac patient to put on their own heart monitors; the data would be unreliable at best, so while it's nice that you can do it from the comfort of home, you'd still have false positives and false negatives due to the fact that you can't trust that the leads are connected properly.

Now lets move to HealthKit. Apple's be-all-end-all for healthcare.

Imagine Starbucks automatically adds your caffeine intake into HealthKit whenever you order a drink using their app. And that you're also using a calorie tracking app, so you add in your coffee when you get it. If that calorie tracking app also adds in the caffeine, the HealthKit data now contains 2x the entries for your coffee. And since the calorie counter doesn't know about Starbucks, it doesn't take it into consideration. The only way that your data is correct is if Apple can determine that your manually entered data is identical to what Starbucks gives - And it's really hard to determine if it's 1 cup of coffee from Starbucks and one from the coffee machine, or if it's the same coffee.

So all this data that's in HealthKit, is unreliable -- it's kind of useless from a clinical standpoint.

Sure you can look at trends, or say "This person drinks a lot of coffee" or "This person hardly ever has coffee", but that's about all it's good for, in its current state. Abstractions, estimates, and best guesses. You can get the same resolution of data by asking a person "Do you exercise regularly", or even just looking at their waist line.

Step counting and the like is great for the gamification of your health (and selling Apple Fitness+), but not for precise clinical data.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrMojo1 Avatar
12 months ago

Healthcare industry is very conservative and needs some breakthroughs on new technologies, and embrace it.
I just a few days ago read an article from the verge how healthcare providers still do not embrace AW, there is so much education still needed and research data will help.
The AW isn't a medical device hence probably why many healthcare providers still don't embrace it.
Even Apple stated publicly not to consider the AW a medical device but for fitness which there is a big difference.
The general public should also learn the difference and stop being ignorant of that fact.
Having said that... the healthcare industry is slowly opening up that fitness devices are appearing and that the general public is slowly embracing them, using it as an indicator of their health so the industry should at least start being more open-minded about the various devices.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Joe_ Avatar
12 months ago
I hope Apple explores more in this space.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
12 months ago

Glucose monitoring is a big leap forward for Apple Watch 8; if Rockley Photonics has it ready by then. No more needle pricks for diabetics; would alone boost tremendous sales. 'Clinic on your wrist' is the term; and I think too many expected this in Watch 7 even though Rockley said 2022-23 commercialization is their timeline. (So RKLY shares collapsed from the SPAC IPO around 15 and now near 6 -tax loss selling by those who bought the opening.) Rockley probably is a potential multi-x gainer next year if this all proceeds in time for Watch 8. Rumors should increase by springtime 2022.
I totally agree that CGM would be awesome and I do believe the technology will be there at some point, however, if it were to come to the AW and not requiring needles, thus allowing diabetics to “just look at their watch”, it would be a medical device, peoples lives would depend on its accuracy. I do not believe we will see that kind of functionality for another 3+ years in an AW (as much as I would like to).
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Apple Watch Series 8 What We Know Feature

Gurman: Apple Watch Series 8 to Bring 'Major Updates to Activity Tracking'

Monday February 28, 2022 3:45 am PST by
This year's Apple Watch Series 8 will include major updates in the area of activity tracking and a faster chip that will power all of Apple's smartwatch models in a new-look lineup, according to well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. Apple is believed to be bringing three new Apple Watch models to customers in 2022, including the Apple Watch Series 8, an updated Apple Watch SE, and ...
Apple Watch Body Temperature Finished

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 8 Will Take Your Temperature, Future AirPods to Help Manage Your Health

Friday September 10, 2021 6:56 am PDT by
In a research note focused on how the Apple Watch Series 7 will still be released in September despite a minor two-week delay in mass production, reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also briefly commented on the Apple Watch Series 8 and AirPods. Kuo said he is optimistic about demand for the Apple Watch in 2022 given that next year's Apple Watch Series 8 will offer new health management...
Apple Watch Series 8 What We Know Feature

Body Temp Sensor in Apple Watch Series 8 Looking Unlikely, Suggests Gurman

Monday January 10, 2022 5:04 am PST by
Apple's plan to add a body temperature sensor to the Apple Watch Series 8 is looking increasingly unlikely, based on recent comments made by well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman. Apple is believed to have originally considered adding a body temperature sensor to last year's Apple Watch Series 7, but that didn't happen, with Bloomberg reporting in June that it would likely be...
apple airpods pro snap

Apple Executive Hints at Using AirPods to Provide Users More Health Data

Wednesday June 16, 2021 6:39 am PDT by
In a wide-ranging interview about Apple's work and progress in the field of health, the company's vice president of technology, Kevin Lynch, has hinted that Apple may someday use sensor fusion with AirPods to provide more health data to customers. Currently, the iPhone and Apple Watch both utilize a wide array of sensors to provide users with health data and information independently. In...
apple watch abc action news

Apple Watch Saves Woman's Life With Feature She'd Never Heard Of

Wednesday March 23, 2022 1:59 am PDT by
An Apple Watch has been credited with saving a woman's life after it contacted emergency services when she fell, leading to a lung cancer diagnosis, ABC Action News reports. 71-year-old grandmother Raylene Hackenwerth, from Saint Petersburg, Florida, fell in early March, triggering her Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature. The Apple Watch's Fall Detection feature can tell when a wearer has...
covid 19 vaccination card wallet app

iOS 15.4 Will Let EU Residents Add COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates to Wallet App

Friday January 28, 2022 12:00 am PST by
Apple on Thursday seeded the first beta of iOS 15.4, and one of the software update's new features will be the ability for COVID-19 vaccination records in the EU Digital COVID Certificate format to be added to the Health and Wallet apps. When iOS 15.4 is released, users will be able to add a EU Digital COVID Certificate to the Health and Wallet apps by opening the Camera app, scanning the...
airpodsincasehands

Apple Research Suggests AirPods Could Be Used to Estimate Respiratory Rate

Thursday August 12, 2021 3:26 am PDT by
Apple researchers have discovered that wearable devices like AirPods can be used to estimate a user's respiratory rate, opening up another potential avenue in biometric health sensor smarts. Respiratory rate (RR) is a clinical metric used to assess overall health and physical fitness. In a paper highlighted on the Apple Machine Learning Research website and spotted by MyHealthyApple,...
apple health keynote

WSJ: Apple Piloted Running Its Own Subscription Based Primary Healthcare Service With 'Apple Doctors'

Wednesday June 16, 2021 2:38 am PDT by
In 2016, Apple considered an "audacious" plan to launch its own healthcare service, based on a subscription, with "Apple doctors" at clinics for customers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The project, which has since stalled due to internal concerns, was to offer customers an all-encompassing healthcare service that would integrate data collected from the iPhone and Apple Watch. On the ...

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
maxresdefault

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
Hero0005

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us...
zuckerberg metaverse

Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'I'm Not Really Sure the Average Person Can Tell You What the Metaverse Is'

Friday September 30, 2022 12:51 pm PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been touring Europe this week, sitting down for interviews with various media publications. Augmented reality has been a running theme in Cook's discussions, and it is a topic he brought up again in an interview with Dutch publication Bright, which is part of RTL News. "I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything," Cook said, echoing comments from...
ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...