iPhone health hardware: where is Apple?

March 11, 2014
When I go to www.apple.com, I see links to the company's computers, phones, and tablets. My question is, why are there no links to medical products created by Apple?
John Wallace 720

When I go to www.apple.com, I see links to the company's computers, phones, and tablets. My question is, why are there no links to medical products created by Apple?

Over the past few years, Laser Focus World and BioOptics World have highlighted a number of medical and health photonic add-on devices for smartphones. Many of these devices are still in varying stages of research, although some are sold commercially. Here are some relevant links from LFW, BOW, and elsewhere:

UCLA researchers create small Android/iPhone fluorescence device for common kidney tests

UC Davis researchers prove that iPhone plus ball lens equals useful microscope

Low-cost flow cytometry platform attaches to a camera phone

Rainbow polymer grating could lead to handheld multispectral imaging devices

Smartphone platform to function as artificial pancreas? -- Medical Design Briefs

An app to check your cholesterol is the latest way smartphones are evolving into medical devices -- PC World

Smartphone-based kit makes eye tests cheap and portable -- gizmag

Diagnosing diseases with smartphones -- University of Houston

The iPhone and iPad are perfect platforms for such remote medical diagnosis and care devicesas is being shown over and over again in research and by commercial devices already available.

Surely Apple is working on such things and is, as usual, just being tight-lipped about its efforts. But a truly proactive Steve Jobs-style approach is not being taken here; if it were, Apple would already have its own photonic (and other) hardware out there, for both doctors and consumers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will need to approve such devices; some are already approved.

I know I'm picking on Apple here; Google (Android phones) and Microsoft (Windows phones) are target companies too. But Apple is somehow different: a company whose great size and fortune can be attributed to its series of products whose design was essentially guided by one manproducts that anticipate, or even create, new markets.

Much has been said about the post-Steve Jobs era at Apple. But the fact that the company's website is empty of an iMedical section says, at least to me, that "getting there first" may be something that we'll see less of from Apple in the future.

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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