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Rumor: Apple's 'iWatch' team grows to 200 people, device won't be regulated by FDA

iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton

Rumors about a future wrist-worn smart device from Apple continue to emerge, with one report Monday claiming the team in Cupertino, Calif., working on the so-called "iWatch" has grown to include more than 200 people.

Citing unnamed sources with "limited but direct knowledge" of the rumored device, MobiHealthNews claims that the "iWatch" will be a peripheral device, dependent upon connectivity to an iPhone for users to gain full functionality. The technological capabilities of the rumored device were also said to be "simpler" than some have hoped, and won't have sensors for rumored advanced functions such as glucose sensing and hydration tracking. Monday's report was highlighted by NetworkWorld.

Because the device isn't expected to have such advanced sensors, the wrist-worn accessory is not expected to be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the report. Apple officials are said to have recently met with the FDA to ensure that the device won't come under the umbrella of the administration's new guidance for mobile medical apps.

The report also threw more weight behind rumors of a "Healthbook" application for iOS, which would apparently communicate with the "iWatch" to track and share health data for users. To that end, Apple is said to be focusing on the "experience" of the device, rather than the technology behind it.

Potential areas of interest for the rumored "Healthbook" application identified by MobiHealthNews include exercise, sleep, stress, reminders for taking medication, and potentially women's health data related to pregnancy.

The source of Monday's rumor does not have an established track record with regard to rumors about future Apple products. However, the same site was the first to reveal last month that Michael O'Reilly, former chief medical officer and executive vice president of medical affairs at pulse oximeter firm Masimo Corporation, was hired by Apple.

O'Reilly was said to have been joined by Apple SVP of Operations Jeff Williams, VP of software and Technology Bud Tribble, and government affairs counsel Tim Powderly in a meeting with the FDA in December to discuss "mobile medical applications." It's widely believed that Apple's interest in medical and health issues could be tied to its work on a so-called "iWatch" accessory.