A few weeks ago, Apple executive Eddy Cue boldly claimed that Apple's 2014 product pipeline was the best he's seen in 25 years. And for someone that was around for the release of both the iPhone and iPad, that's quite a lofty statement.
Of course, the product everyone is expecting Apple to release this coming Fall is a wearable device that the media has already dubbed the "iWatch."
Just a few days ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that the iWatch "will include more than 10 sensors to track and monitor health and fitness data." Indeed, it's well known that Apple over the last 18-24 months has hired a plethora of engineers with expertise in various biometric and biosenor technologies.
Most recently, Apple hired Alex Hsieh away from Atlas Wearables. According to LinkedIn, Hsieh is now a firmware developer at Apple as of June 2014. While it's currently unclear what Hsieh's job responsibilities at Apple are, Hsieh previously spent 8 months as the lead software engineer at Atlas Wearables, a fitness tracker akin to other wearable devices, albeit on steroids.
Though not available for sale just yet (it's still in prototype form), the Atlas device promises to measure a user's calories burned, heart rate, and distance traveled during a particular workout. The device can purportedly evaluate a user's form during various exercises while also keeping track of reps and sets performed.
Atlas measures your heart rate, calculates the calories you burned and tracks your body on the x-, y- and z-axes, so it knows how many laps you swam and if you did push-ups or triangle push-ups. It's preloaded with the most popular exercises and can learn new exercises you teach it so you can instantly see your progress, analyze your form, anticipate plateaus and find what makes you stronger, faster.
This past October, VentureBeat called Atlas the coolest startup from the TechStars Demo day.
During a short demo, [Atlas co-founder Peter Li] brought a personal trainer on stage to show that Atlas' tech can distinguish between multiple activities, including steps, squats, curls, and more. Hell, the thing could even distinguish between a regular pushup and a triangle pushup. You can look at the data after a workout and immediately see what you still need to do. Li also said the data can be used to predict when you're about to hit a plateau, making your workouts count every time.
Again, Apple's rumored iWatch is believed to be fully health and fitness oriented. As we've detailed before, users shouldn't expect a health sensing super device from Apple capable of measuring metrics like a user's glucose levels. Far more likely is a device with a wide assortment of fitness and wellness tracking features.
To that end, some notable Apple hires include former Nike consultant and famed fitness guru Jay Blahnik and reputed sleep expert Roy J.E.M Raymann. Over and above that, Apple has hired a number of folks with vast experience in the medical devices realm, including former Cercacor CTO Marcelo Malini Lamego.
With the iWatch likely to be positioned for fitness purposes, 9to5Mac reported last week that Apple has been tapping select professional athletes to try out the device and "provide an opportunity for testing to be conducted in professional conditioning environments."