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Apple poaches medical tech experts, fuels iWatch rumours

Apple has hired a couple of experts in medical tech which could spell big things for its rumoured smart watch...

Here are some more rumours to chuck on the iWatch rumour pyre. Apple's wrist-based device could have a health focus, if its poaching of some experts in the tech health field are anything to go by.

The Cupertino company recently hired Nancy Dougherty from a start-up called Sano Intelligence, and Ravi Narasimhan from medical devices company Vital Connect, 9to5Mac reports. And if they put their knowhow to work on Apple's techy timepiece, the device could boast some industry-first powers.

Dougherty's work at Sano Intelligence includes work on a yet-to-launch product that reads and analyses a user's blood. According to a Fast Company profile, Sano Intelligence's product is a patch that lets the wearer read their blood glucose levels without needing to take a blood sample. This could be very useful for anyone with diabetes who doesn't want to have to stop to prick their finger multiple times a day. If Apple could work this groundbreaking tech into a smart watch, it would put some real distance between it and its competitors.

Google is also hard at work on similar tech. This week, it unveiled a contact lens that can measure the wearer's blood glucose levels.

In his previous job, Narasimhan managed teams responsible for biosensors. Vital Connect's sensors measure steps, skin temperature, respiratory rate, and can even detect falls. If this last one was integrated into a smart watch, it would be very useful for any elderly relatives.

A raft of smart watches were unveiled at CES, though most of them just included the usual pedometers and heart rate monitors. Apple CEO Tim Cook promised "big plans" in an email to staff at the end of last year -- a smart watch with real next-gen health skills could well be part of them.

What do you think of the current crop of smart watches? What would Apple have to do to stand out? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.