Apple Inc. is working on building a digital health team, and on Thursday – the firm made a new hire, its most high-profile appointment yet, says Business Insider. Sage Bionetworks announced that its co-founder and President – Stephen Friend – is joining Apple’s healthcare team. The iPhone maker said it cannot disclose any more information to share about his role or title.
Apple made its most important hire
Friend worked at Merck as an executive and as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School before joining Sage. And, now he is about to step back from his day-to-day role at Sage Bionetworks, Apple’s most important partner in its nascent health effort. Sage has helped Apple in many of its high-profile apps based on Apple’s health-focused platforms – ResearchKit and CareKit.
Sage is a partner for many researchers and clinical professionals, helping them address a lot of the messy behind-the-scenes problems related to building mobile health apps. The Parkinson mPower app developed with the help of Sage Bionetworks, was one of its first ResearchKit apps that later became one of the first CareKit-enabled apps. The ResearchKit and CareKit apps are provided with an accessible, open-source backend by Sage.
The CEO of health care consultancy Medullan – Ahmed Albaiti – said, “Sage Bionetworks is definitely a big player with where Apple goes with health, but there’s some sort of pseudo-interesting relationship between the two of them. Sage has a very rich think-tank set of resources, and they are the ones that trailblaze on these Apple products, but they don’t help you develop apps.”
Apple Inc. ’s ambitions of going into the healthcare market are long-term, and it has been laying emphasis on the health capabilities of the Apple Watch. Earlier this year, Apple’s CEO – Tim Cook – said the firm was very much interested in the health world, and that the healthcare space is “ripe for simplicity and a new view.” Last month, the firm posted a job listing for a lawyer to focus on medical privacy and provide consultation on possible acquisitions.
New patents for iPhone and iPad
Along with the healthcare, Apple Inc. also plans to revolutionize its other products, and recently filed two patent applications. The patents give an idea, what the firm is planning to offer with the future generations of the iPhone and iPad.
A stylus with multi-touch sensors that could be used for gesture controls is the first. While the second patent is for the tech to help determine the hand a user is currently using on a device, and accordingly customize the UI for left-or-right-handed use.
At 10.51 am EDT, Apple shares were down 2.33% at $93.84. Year to date, the stock is down over 12% while in the last one-year, it is down almost 27%.