Apple's path to growth is lined with heart attack tracking sensors, iOS in the Car

Apple Inc is looking at cars and medical devices to diversify its sources of revenue as growth from iPhones and iPads slows

Apple has been under fire from critics for not innovating enough in the past two years. That may be hard on the company that delivered the iPhone 5s with a fingerprint scanner and the new 64-bit A7 processor, along with a radically redesigned Mac Pro workstation. However, it looks like Apple is taking its critics serious and now is looking to expand into hitherto unexplored categories.


Apple is looking at cars and medical devices to diversify its sources of revenue as growth from iPhones and iPads slows, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report. Apple's head of mergers and acquisitions, Adrian Perica, met with Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk at the company's headquarters last year around the same time analysts suggested that Apple acquire the electric car maker, the newspaper reported last week citing a source. However, that has remained far from fulfilled. Apple made its intention for the automobile category clear last year with the launch of iOS in the Car, which will focus on improving in-car use of the OS as well as powering navigation and entertainment systems.


The Cupertino company is also exploring medical devices and sensors that can help predict heart attacks by studying sound blood makes at it flows through arteries. It is reportedly working with audio engineer Tomlinson Holman, who invented THX and 10.2 surround sound, to figure out how a device could listen to sound of blood flow and respond with alerts in times of emergency. These new technologies have been speculated to be used in the upcoming iWatch and could also power much of the rumoured Healthbook app, that will ship with iOS 8 reportedly.  The company's senior vice president of operations, Jeff Williams, has met with US Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Margaret Hamburg and Dr Jeffrey Shuren, who oversees the agency's approval for medical devices, to discuss "mobile medical applications," the paper reported, citing FDA records.


Rival Google recently bought thermostat maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion, robot maker Boston Dynamics and artificial intelligence startup DeepMind Technologies Ltd. The company has also been working on projects including Google Glass, self-driving cars and bringing Android to cars. So at least one of Apple's biggest rival in the US has looked at new categories and avenues for growth. Investors hope that Apple, which last came out with a new device - the iPad - in 2010, has something up its sleeve for 2014. Speculation currently revolves around a smartwatch or even a long-rumoured TV product.


Apple is expected to launch a bigger iPhone 6, and may also launch wearable devices such as iWatch, in the second half of the year. Others say Apple can use its huge iPhone and iTunes base to get into mobile payments or advertising. Apple reported lower-than-expected iPhone sales for the holiday shopping quarter and gave a weaker-than-expected revenue forecast. The company has been ceding ground to Samsung Electronics Co and other rivals in China, its No. 2 market.


With inputs from Reuters


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