Apple Trying To Poach Swiss Watchmakers To Build iWatch [Rumor] | Cult of Mac

Apple Trying To Poach Swiss Watchmakers To Build iWatch [Rumor]



There have been many wearables and quantified-health applications over the past few years, but most have steered clear of proclaiming themselves medical devices. Some of the rumors about the iWatch (such as the fact that it will be able to listen to the sound blood makes as it flows through arteries, and use this to predict heart attacks) may sound a bit too good to be true. But the number of biosensor and biomedical engineers Apple has snapped up recently makes us think the iWatch could be a device that crosses over firmly into the "medical monitoring" category.

According to one recent report, a reason for the long delay before launch is that Apple is awaiting certification from the Food and Drug Administration to get the iWatch approved as medical equipment. Given Apple's recent announcement of the Health app for iOS 8 to collect and show data on calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood oxygen levels and more, plus the conspicuous absence of a health-tracking fitness band in Apple's last iPhone 5s ad, the idea that the iWatch will be geared toward health seems as close to a foregone conclusion as you get for a device that hasn't even been officially announced yet.

Apple is reportedly trying to lure top Swiss watchmakers away from luxury brands in its efforts to build an iWatch.

Jean-Claude Biver, president of luxury brand LVMH’s watches and jewellery division, claims that Apple has tried to recruit staff from his Hublot brand, along with employees from several other top Swiss watchmakers.

“Apple has contacted some of my employees – I saw the emails personally,” he said, noting that none of the individuals contacted jumped ship.

Larry Pettinelli, U.S. president of Patek Philippe, notes that Apple’s interest in Swiss watchmakers may be the result of specific skills it is seeking — specifically metallurgy.

“It is conceivable that they [Apple] would be interested in developing a type of hybrid with some type of mechanical aspects,” he says. “The Swiss watch industry is very adept at metallurgy”.

Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek meanwhile tells the Financial Times newspaper that his company has been in discussions — none initiated by them — with all the major players in smart wearables. Hayek has previously been a detractor when it comes to the iWatch concept.

He notes that “we see no reason” why the company should consider working with tech companies, and says that it is his priority to protect Swatch’s intellectual property advantages — including ergonomic design, longevity and battery life.

Source: Financial Times


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