Apple’s chip team is one of the best in the business, consistently cranking out powerful chips for both the iPhone and Apple Watch, not to mention standout chips like the W2 wireless chip.
Now the team behind that tech is looking to get into custom health chips, according to job listings spotted by CNBC. “We are looking for Sensor ASIC Architects to help develop ASICS (custom chip) for new Sensors and Sensing Systems for future Apple products,” says one job posting.
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While the listing doesn’t explicitly say what these chips would help sense, another job posting in June did specify that it was looking for someone to help build new health sensors. An August job posting outlined that Apple was looking for an engineer to specifically develop health, wellness and fitness sensors.
An ASIC, or application-specific integrated circuit, is a custom chip that helps offload some responsibilities from a device’s main chip. This helps the primary chip be more efficient, using its power more effectively and increasing battery life.
Apple is a fan of this approach. It currently uses the W2 wireless chip in the Apple Watch for wireless protocols, and a health sensing chip from Broadcom for dealing with its heart rate sensor.
However, Apple being Apple, it’s likely the Cupertino company also wants control over the chip that processes that data – especially if it’s looking to get deeper into health with more advanced sensors. Say an electrocardiogram sensor, for example. All of this serious health data becomes a privacy problem, and Apple cutting off external partners and relying on its own chips could help ensure privacy.
Don’t forget Apple loves vertical integration. It loves taking advantage of its own chips playing with its own software, allowing the company to deliver more cohesive experiences that are slightly more difficult to achieve should Apple opt for third-party chips.
As for when you can see these new chips in Apple Watches, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath. Seeing as how Apple is only now looking to beef up its team, it seems as if these chips won’t make their way onto your wrist for a few years yet.