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Apple Rumored To Be Exploring Medical Devices, Electric Cars To Reignite Growth 255

Posted by samzenpus
from the spreading-out dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Apple rumor mill is alive and well. This time around the tech giant is rumored to be looking into exploring medical sensor technology related to predicting heart attacks, and might even buy Tesla. 'Taken together, Apple's potential forays into automobiles and medical devices, two industries worlds away from consumer electronics, underscore the company's deep desire to move away from iPhones and iPads and take big risks. "Apple must increasingly rely on new products to reignite growth beyond the vision" of late founder Steve Jobs, said Bill Kreher, an analyst with Edward Jones Investments in St. Louis. "They need the next big thing."'"
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Apple Rumored To Be Exploring Medical Devices, Electric Cars To Reignite Growth

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  • Apple buys tesla?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:07PM (#46267273) Homepage
    please dont do that apple, I really like Tesla. I dont want apple to be able to remote kill my car if i dont accept their EULA
    • +1 Agree!
    • Finally a car-analogy that isn't!

    • by Rozzin (9910)

      please dont do that apple, I really like Tesla. I dont want apple to be able to remote kill my car if i dont accept their EULA

      This sort of thing already made its way into the car industry years ago with OnStar; VW just introduced something similar called "Car-Net"; I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla's cars already include something similar, too.

    • by Twinbee (767046)
      Don't worry, there's not a chance of that happening, at least not until Elon Musk gets the cheaper next gen cars out en masse, and probably not for a long time after that.

      I keep up with the Tesla news very closely, and that guy is on a mission, and its primary goal is not money. He REALLY wants to rid the world of CO2 emissions as much as possible, and he'll do anything to see that goal is met.
  • - "Yes honey, I've seen the new 2019 iPad but I think that Microsoft stuff has gotten way better after being acquired by Lenovo, I think I'll buy the Officepad 10 HHHHHHHHHNNGGGGGGGGGGGG!"

  • Not a good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Akratist (1080775) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:11PM (#46267313)
    It always seems that when companies start trying to branch out into wildly dissimilar industries, it's a sign of trouble within the organization. Do what you do well, figure out how to do it better if things aren't going how you'd like them. Don't try making sushi if you've always sold donuts.
    • It would appear that success can lead you into error in either direction:

      You've got the companies that ossify, refusing to do anything even slightly disruptive to their cash cows, which they contentedly milk until the world changes around them. Then you've got the companies that (whether because of internal hubris and megalomania, or because Wall Street Demands It) decide that merely making tons of money isn't good enough, and anything less than 'malignant tumor' growth rates are utterly unacceptable, wh
    • by jo7hs2 (884069)
      Oh God, what have you done! You just inadvertently gave Dunkin Donuts their next disgusting product idea. As if donut shop tater tots and donut sandwiches were not disgusting enough. They make pretty good donuts (for a chain joint) and need to stick to that, but folks just gotta keep giving them bad ideas,
      • I'm still wondering which we're going to see first: a donut with pizza fillings* from Dunkin Donuts or a custard-filled stuffed crust from Pizza Hut.

        * a Hot Pocket isn't a donut.

    • It always seems that when companies start trying to branch out into wildly dissimilar industries, it's a sign of trouble within the organization. Do what you do well, figure out how to do it better if things aren't going how you'd like them. Don't try making sushi if you've always sold donuts.

      Google's in a similar boat. Self driving cars, robots, barges in the San Francisco bay...

      If Apple bought Tesla, they should just buy a controlling stake to keep Google away from purchasing Tesla, and then let Tesla keep doing it's thing. Make Apple's tremendous software design resources available for Tesla, but don't try and micro manage.

      But as I said, everyone is doing the same branching out. I agree it's not a good sign, but at this point, we've run out of innovation steam on mobile and most of PC, so com

    • Also some companies greatest growth happens when they buy into a dissimilar industry. It is a risk, sometime you win, where your brand name somehow complements the product and sometimes it fails miserably.
      Also there are a lot of products owned by other companies that you have no idea who the real company behind it is.

      • IMO that works well when your strength is in manufacturing products. This is why Lenovo's aquisition of IBM worked. They are a vertically integrated company which can have much lower costs of manufacturing than IBM ever could all they needed was a brand to sell their own products. Apple is the complete opposite of that. For me it seems like utter nonsense to enter a different market like that.

        • Apple does have have a strong strength in manufacturing.
          A lot of their product designs are actually rather hard to manufacture Those curved metal that are near seamless, glass cut to nice curves. To have the product sold at nearly the same cost of its competitor who have products that are much simpler to make (molded plastic). Apple cannot create and sell a product that will take a craftsman days to make they need to be mass produced.

    • by unimacs (597299)
      I have no idea this is what Apple is really doing or not but branching into other industries makes complete sense IF you can provide something that's not already being provided.

      The mp3 player was not an industry that Apple was involved in but they saw a way that they could leverage their expertise and connections to provide a better user experience than the existing companies in that market did.

      Same with the iPhone. Are you suggesting that it was foolish for Apple to go into those markets?

      The brick
      • The difference is Apple did that with internal resources and minor acquisitions. Plus the products themselves were not that different from what they were used to building its still consumer electronics. To call a car a consumer electronics product is nonsensical.

        • by unimacs (597299)
          Remember that these are rumors. The Tesla thing would be a reach for Apple but there some interesting parallels between the two companies. Electronics and computers are increasingly central to the operation of modern vehicles.

          Anyway, I'm talking more about the medical device rumor. And my guess is that they aren't initially going to be medical devices in the traditional sense. They'll be fitness/wellness enhancing devices along the lines of what Fitbit/Polar and to a certain extent Garmin produce.
          • Yeah, but the more sensible thing I read was that Apple met with Elon Musk to discuss some sort of project that they wanted either his input or help. Maybe even a joint venture. That seems more plausible to me that they are talking to Musk, not Tesla.
    • Like Google buying Nest.

    • by Arker (91948)
      "It always seems that when companies start trying to branch out into wildly dissimilar industries, it's a sign of trouble within the organization. Do what you do well, figure out how to do it better if things aren't going how you'd like them. Don't try making sushi if you've always sold donuts."

      The same thing is true of computer programs - the good ones have a clear job they do well, and when they start with the featuritis is when they go bad.
    • by sootman (158191)

      Well, good news -- the only "not a good sign" you're seeing is from these idiot analysts who, collectively, are wrong about 90% of the time when it comes to Apple. If you care to hear what Apple themselves have to say...

      WSJ: Apple has never made a billion-dollar acquisition. Google is snapping up everyone including your old friends at Nest. Does this alter how you think about bigger deals?

      Cook: We've looked at big companies. We don't have a predisposition not to buy big companies. The money is also not burning a hole in our pocket where we say let's make a list of 10 and pick the best one. We're not doing that. We have no problem spending ten figures for the right company that's the right and that's in the best interest of Apple in the long-term. None. Zero.

      But we're not going to go out and buy something for the purposes of just being big. Something that makes more fantastic products, something that's very strategic -- all these things are of interest and we're always looking regardless of size.

      WSJ interview with Tim Cook, 2/14/2014 [wsj.com]

      If you've been paying attention to Apple for the last 15 years, you know they aren't usually stupid, panicky, or reactionary. Remember when everyone was saying the *had* to make a netbook? And then they didn't, and then that market segment dissolved? An

    • by Rhywden (1940872)

      Nokia did that just fine (for a pretty while at least). So, branching out doesn't have to spell doom.

    • Well given Apple's track record [wikipedia.org], their purchases have not really been that far from they normally do. Sometimes why they purchase a company isn't clear until much later. For example, FingerWorks was a primarily a peripherals company when Apple purchased them. Through patent filings later, it was clear that Apple was after their patents which was the basis of their multi-touch technology. When Apple bought PA Semi and later Intrinsity there was speculation about whether Apple would go into the ARM market
    • It always seems that when companies start trying to branch out into wildly dissimilar industries, it's a sign of trouble within the organization. Do what you do well, figure out how to do it better if things aren't going how you'd like them. Don't try making sushi if you've always sold donuts.

      Yeah, Steve Jobs, don't try making phones or music players if you've always sold computers. Actually, don't even starting making computers if you've always made Atari games. Actually, maybe you've got the whole thin
  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:16PM (#46267383)

    the company's deep desire to move away from iPhones and iPads

    iPhones and iPads make Apple an obscene amount of money and they are in a controlling position in the market. It should go without saying that they don't have "a deep desire to move away" from them. Add new product categories? Sure. Move away from iPhones and iPads? Nope.

    "Apple must increasingly rely on new products to reignite growth beyond the vision" of late founder Steve Jobs, said Bill Kreher, an analyst with Edward Jones Investments in St. Louis. "They need the next big thing."'"

    Growth is a bullshit metric. A company with one customer can grow their user base 1000% by getting to ten customers. A company with hundreds of millions of customers can't grow like that. Growth naturally slows as a company gets larger. Only bullshit artists looking to get page views or prop up a stock price blather on about how Apple need the next big thing to continue growing. They don't need to continue growing. They are raking money in faster than just about any other company. Trying to grow at the same rate as they have done in previous years is not only a ludicrously unachievable expectation to place on them, it's probably bad for business if they were stupid enough to try. Apple's core strength has always been a small, focused product family.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Right, what you say is spot on, but unfortunately it doesn't map to the reality of what the stock market deems a "successful" company - one that grows and hence expands it's share price. Too many investors are of the buy low, sell high variety, rather than the dividends variety, so if you don't want to cater to that mindset you should probably just go private else you can only expect to carry on hearing people tell you you're a "failure" because you only pulled in $20bn last quarter instead of $22bn.

      Yes it'

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      iPhones and iPads make Apple an obscene amount of money and they are in a controlling position in the market. It should go without saying that they don't have "a deep desire to move away" from them. Add new product categories? Sure. Move away from iPhones and iPads? Nope.

      No, but they realize that while the cash cow is iStuff, it won't be that way forever. Because just a little over 5 years ago, the cash cow was... iPods. Now iPods sell even less than Macs.

      Oh yeah, 5 years before THAT, the hot cash cow was

      • by Bogtha (906264)

        Because just a little over 5 years ago, the cash cow was... iPods. Now iPods sell even less than Macs.

        Because everybody who used to buy iPods now buys iPhones instead, which does everything an iPod does and more. They didn't lose sales, they moved their customers over to a more expensive product.

        Are you saying that Apple have a product waiting in the wings that's an entire replacement for an iPhone but earns them more money? If not, what's your explanation for the idea that they want to move away f

      • The 'cash cow' was Steve Jobs.

        You look at every single time Apple came back from the dead:

        - Turning the business loser Lisa into the succesful Macintosh phenomenon
        - Coming back from Next and bringing what would eventually become iOS and the iThingy phenomenon

        That was Steve Jobs.

        There ain't no bringing him back this time and Apple's never been anything than a flash in the pan that was fueled by Steve Jobs business savvy.

        Granted it will take some time but they will fade into the obscurity they were headed tow

    • Actually they need a new product. Their profits in the mp3 player market have basically evaporated and the smartphone market is getting commoditized as would be expected to happen in any mature market. They may grow for a couple of years more as they finally get contracts with telecoms operators in China and India but then its gonna go down. Especially when the competition can manufacture a superior products that costs less. I expect them to shrink to 10% of the market just like happened to them with PCs. T

  • by Manfre (631065) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:17PM (#46267393) Homepage Journal

    Any issues with the car will probably be blamed on the driver. "Your car doesn't accelerate properly because you're holding the steering wheel incorrectly."

    • changelog for CiOS 3 9/21/16 update:

      - iPhone-based ignition system bugfixes - now requires latest iOS build to start
      - iTunes integration update - hitting the horn button no longer plays random track from Library
      - Emergency braking converted to premium service, requires new EULA agreement

  • Remember that HP once was almost only known as a producer of measurement equipment. Then they went into the computing hardware business big time. They, too, needed the "next big thing". As much as I may despise Apple, from a corporate-strategical point of view such a move sounds like making a lot of sense for Apple.
  • by the computer guy nex (916959) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:26PM (#46267501)
    If Apple cared about selling more widgets, they would have created lower-priced versions of all of their products years ago.

    Analysts want Apple to run the company their way, and Apple is refusing to do it. Good for them in my opinion.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      The problem for Apple management is, how to justify sitting on a vast hoard of cash instead of returning it to shareholders. There is simply no defensible way to spend $160BN developing the next generation of iDevices. Apple is currently getting rid of some of it through dividends [appleinsider.com] and stock repurchases [usatoday.com]. But most major investors don't really want dividends nor to sell back their shares; they already have capital they don't know what to do with and just want it to grow as fast as possible. I am largely ag
      • "The problem for Apple management is, how to justify sitting on a vast hoard of cash instead of returning it to shareholders. There is simply no defensible way to spend $160BN developing the next generation of iDevices."

        What is wrong with returning it to shareholders? They own the company. Apple started up a decent dividend and the largest share buyback in history. This is the right move.

        "wealth has become so concentrated that those who have it can't figure out any useful way to spend it, and th
  • 17 Macbook Pro (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tz Terri (2842239) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:27PM (#46267515)
    I would be happy if Apple just started selling a 17" Macbook Pro again. Would be even happier if they started selling screens with matt displays again.
  • With the passing of Jobs, I'm pretty sure everyone must realize that Apple's relevance is simply fading away. I know this sounds like a troll and perhaps in some ways it is.

    Despite the fact that I disliked Jobs and all that, there's no denying he was extremely effective. Despite the fact that I think he help the company from overtaking the business marketplace, he probably did it for extremely good reasons. He probably kept the company from making huge mistakes and from being hugely liable for all sorts o

    • It seems to me the lightning connector, for all of its mechanical advantages over the 30 pin, also came with a lot of new restrictions and complications, all designed to keep Apple in control.

      It seems to me that they're stifling innovative uses via third party accessories which seems to encourage people to find other platforms which could ultimately shrink their user base.

      It's just one example, but in a lot of ways I would think they would want to encourage the iPhone/iPad as more general purpose devices wi

      • by erroneus (253617)

        I wish I had thought to mention that myself, but my rant was already pretty long.

        Yes. Apple loves to restrict and limit. And they don't care what it costs the end user. "No, you cannot replace the battery. If we let you do that, other companies would make compatible batteries and extended life batteries and all that mess. Also, we want to make sure we can find you and your phone. It must be on at all times even if you think it's off."

        I'm starting to rethink who the good guys and who the bad guys were

        • by swb (14022)

          I'm less concerned with stuff like the battery or other kinds of hardware engineering questions.

          When it was new, the idea of a non-replaceable battery seemed dumb, but having owned 4 iPhones since and two iPads, it doesn't really seem to matter and frankly it's just as easy/convenient to carry a spare generic USB charging battery as it would be a phone battery if I'm doing the kind of traveling where I will be away from power and worried about depleting my battery. Every other use case seems to be covered

    • All true. They're going down. When the Lisa was their flagship loser Jobs went psycho and made the macintosh a winner.

      They kicked him out and started going downhill. He got what was eventually to become iOS developed at NeXt before bringing it back to an Apple that needed resuscitation once again and the iThingy revolution saved their asses.

      Then he decides to get all hippy dippy refusing conventional medicine which most likely would have saved his life and as a result kicked the bucket earlier than was n

  • Cars? (Score:2, Funny)

    by bluegutang (2814641)

    Remember when Apple was the company that came out with revolutionary new products and the rest of the industry followed them?

    Apparently, now it's Google.

    (Oh, and who would trust Steve Jobs' company to make their medical devices? Yes I am speaking both to his general approach to ethics, and the circumstances of his death.)

    • by jittles (1613415)

      Remember when Apple was the company that came out with revolutionary new products and the rest of the industry followed them?

      Apparently, now it's Google.

      (Oh, and who would trust Steve Jobs' company to make their medical devices? Yes I am speaking both to his general approach to ethics, and the circumstances of his death.)

      Hmmm... I thought Creative made the first portable MP3 player. And I know that Apple didn't invent the PC.

    • by tgd (2822)

      Remember when Apple was the company that came out with revolutionary new products and the rest of the industry followed them?

      Apparently, now it's Google.

      (Oh, and who would trust Steve Jobs' company to make their medical devices? Yes I am speaking both to his general approach to ethics, and the circumstances of his death.)

      Apple:
      - Not the first smartphone
      - Not the first touch phone
      - Not the first MP3 player
      - Not the first GUI
      - Not the first All-In-One
      - Not the first platform for media production
      - Not the first selling media

      Apple's strength was, under Jobs, an impeccable sense of timing to enter the market, and marketing. They were great at making people think they were innovating, and made hundreds of billions doing it. There's nothing wrong with that except that they fundamentally weren't innovating, and they're not so good

    • "(Oh, and who would trust Steve Jobs' company to make their medical devices? Yes I am speaking both to his general approach to ethics, and the circumstances of his death.)"

      Tim Cook, by all accounts, is a health/fitness nut and doesn't believe in the 'eastern medicine' philosophy that did in Jobs. Not sure if you have noticed, but Tim runs the company now.
  • Ask yourself this... do you trust Apple with your pace maker? Your cochlear implant?

    Would you trust MICROSOFT with your pace maker (holy hellzapoppin' no)

    I can just see it... " Your cochlear implant has reached it's maximum amount of words amplified for the day. In order to hear more today, you need to upgrade to MICROSOFT COCHLEAR PROFESSIONAL 8.1" or even worse "Oh shit. I'm sorry, I can't do anything else today. I'm only using PaceMaker XP and if my heart beats more than 86,400 times today, my pace m

  • Apple Rumored To Be Exploring Medical Devices[, ]Electric Cars To Reignite Growth

    The word you're looking for is "and."

  • *sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Monday February 17, 2014 @02:03PM (#46268635) Homepage Journal

    "The Apple rumor mill is alive and well."

    And, you can stop reading right there. Analysts are idiots, and rumors usually turn out to be wrong.

    As for growth... "Last year, we grew (revenue) by $14 billion to $15 billion. Yes, those percentages are smaller compared to a year earlier and two years earlier and so forth. But that doesn't mean that you're not a growth company. We were in hyper-growth, or whatever is above growth. We went from $65 billion to over $100 billion to $150 billion to $170 billion. These are historic, unprecedented numbers. I don't know any companies adding growth at that level. So when you say $14 billion to $15 billion compared to those numbers, it's clearly smaller and a smaller percentage, but, to put it in some context, that's like adding three Fortune 500 companies in a year. [emphasis mine] I think that's hard to say that's not a growth company."

    --Tim Cook to the WSJ Feb 7, 2014 [wsj.com]

  • Anyone see that movie Repo Men? Yeah, that's basically this.
    • Let's see them try that in TX and then I will call them and say You can pick the bodys of the next guys who show up.

  • Apple may do most of the pioneering work. But they'll never stay in those areas.

    Quite simply, they don't want the hassle of having to deal with industries.

    Deep down, Apple wants (and needs) to be the artsy-fartsy choice for computers and media consumption devices.

    They simply don't have the mindset to fix problems for people who don't give a flying fuck about the Apple/Mac "aesthetic", and simply want their business equipment to work without having to dick around with it too much.

    They don't want to have to

    • "Apple may do most of the pioneering work. But they'll never stay in those areas."

      I don't understand this comment. Apple will build a medical device/wearable, then sell it off? The number of scientific hires they have made recently is simply astounding. I doubt very much they are creating a product to abandon shortly after.

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