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Apple’s making a custom health chip

Apple Watch Heart

Apple is reportedly making an all-new custom processor just to analyze health data. It’s already made its own chips for artificial intelligence, so the new SoC will be a continuation of that trend.

CNBC discovered this new chipset through a couple of job listings Apple has posted. One is from its Health Sensing hardware department. The company is looking for sensor ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) architects to help develop ASICs for new sensors and sensing systems for future Apple products.

Apple Job Listings

Apple is naturally being discrete about what the chip will measure, but it does seem to have something to do with information from the body. Another posting is seeking an engineer who can help develop health, wellness, and fitness sensors. Yet another one hints at the continued development of optical sensors.

The Apple Watch has an optical sensor to measure a person’s heart rate. It’s not clear whether the new processor is meant only for the smartwatch or other products like the iPhone. These specialized chipsets allow a laser focus on a special area of interest, while taking the load off of the main SoC. This leads to superior battery life and performance.

It’s possible that Apple is hiring new blood to improve its current sensors. Rumor has it that it’s trying to improve its existing heart rate monitor so that it can detect signs of atrial fibrillation. The brand even launched a heart study to find out whether the Apple Watch can accurately detect abnormalities.

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An earlier CNBC report had asserted that Apple was attempting to track blood sugar through non-invasive methods. This would be a huge win for people suffering from diabetes since they wouldn’t have to go through the pain of needles.

The new chip might be some time away since Apple posted these job listings over the past few months. In the meanwhile, theApple Watch 4 is coming in September with features like smaller bezels and solid-state buttons.