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Tales From The Future. I picked my nickname because many advisors and investors claim they can predict the future of the (stock) markets and somehow pick the winners. I don't. I usually do not engage in short-term trading and myopic analysis (quarter by quarter, without looking at the big... More
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  • The Next Wearable Battleground: Apple IDoctor And Google Health? 1 comment
    Jan 19, 2014 6:52 PM | about stocks: AAPL, GOOG

    Amid news on the impending iPhone 5s/5c launch on China Mobile's 4G network and Google buying Nest for $3.2 billion (which is an insane valuation in my opinion, let's leave it at that*), some smaller news items regarding the two competitors got less attention.

    Both news involve the medical (sensor) field.

    From the official Google blog:

    Google (Smart) Lens:

    We're now testing a smart contact lens that's built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. We're testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. We're also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we're exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds. It's still early days for this technology, but we've completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.

    and from the Mac news/rumor/intelligence website 9to5Mac:

    EXCLUSIVE: Apple continues hiring raid on medical sensor field as it develops eye scanning technology

    Example of biomedical industry's work on blood sensors
    Apple is moving to expand its personnel working on wearable computers and medical-sensor-laden devices by hiring more scientists and specialists in the medical sensor field. Apple began work in earnest on a watch-like device late last decade, and it has worked with increasing efficiency and more dedicated resources on the project over the past couple of years.


    Perhaps more interesting, Apple is also actively investigating iris scanning technology, according to sources. This information comes as a Samsung executive confirmed that Samsung is developing iris scanning technologies for upcoming smartphones.

    9to5Mac already penned an excellent article on Apple moves in the same area back in 2013:

    I think such functionality will differentiate future wearables from both GOOG and AAPL from existing competition - such as the Pebble watch or other existing smartwatches from Samsung or Sony.

    Because these sensors measure/track body movements and body data 24/7 they will most likely include functionality that can't be replicated by any smartphone (for example, in your sleep at night, swimming or in general for any sensors requiring direct body contact).

    This doesn't mean AAPL (or GOOG) will only focus on fitness/medical functionality in my opinion - the devices could very well serve other needs such as ID checks or payments as well. But it is probable that both companies needed most external talent in the medical sector.

    Along with smaller companies in the sensor field (please see my earlier Instablog where I briefly discussed INVN and SWIR) this is an area to watch for both GOOG and AAPL as they enter the "wearables" space.

    With an aging population and few, expensive and often clunky existing alternatives by smaller companies within the medical field, wearables with medical/fit trackers could be big opportunities for GOOG and AAPL.

    Google Health or Apple iDoctor? We may see more in the coming years.


    * If you are interested in more details, here's my comment on the GOOG-Nest deal comparing it with the recent Suntory-BEAM M&A:

    Themes: invn, swir, wearables, medical, sensors, m2m Stocks: AAPL, GOOG
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  • Tales From The Future
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    Author’s reply » Another good round-up from Reuters on the iWatch and its likely medical sensors (the Mac-related blog 9to5Mac had similar info well ahead of Reuters back in 2013, see my link in the article above):


    "Apple on medical tech hiring spree, a possible hint of iWatch plans"



    The challenges are also summed up well:


    "Apple also has witnessed rivals trying, and failing, to produce devices that reach a mass market. Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch was panned by critics and consumer reviews have been tepid at best.


    A report from Endeavour Partners found that one-third of American consumers who have owned a wearable ditched it within six months. Key challenges include battery life, style, usefulness, and medical relevance, it said.


    And this month, Nike confirmed to Re/code that it had laid off some of its FuelBand team."
    5 May 2014, 01:15 PM Reply Like
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