Apple (AAPL) - Get Report is apparently eyeing the potential to expand the use of its trendy Apple Watch to one where it could also serve as a medical device. Uber, in the wake of the tragic killings in Michigan by one of its drivers, now offers an emergency phone number to riders and drivers. McAfee founder John McAfee boosts he can do what the FBI can't with an encrypted iPhone.
Apple filed a patent for an electronic device that could work with a smartphone to monitor, detect and transmit an alert, based on a user's heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure or temperature, according to its filing with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
And although Apple's patent application shows an image of a jogger wearing a fitness monitor strapped to their bicep, the company states in its patent filing that “it is understood that this is an example” and that the electronic device can be any kind of electronic product, including “a wearable device.” For Apple, it's most prominent wearable device is its Apple Watch.
The title on Apple's patent filing is labeled "Care Event Detection and Alerts." The idea is that the Apple Watch, for example, would not only transfer biometric information about the user to their iPhone, but also give the user an allotted amount of time to turn off the alert before it is sent the user's emergency contacts via the iPhone.
Apple is still a ways away from transforming its Apple Watch into a medical device, given the long and challenging task companies face in securing approval for products from the Food and Drug Administration. Last year, according to the Wall Street Journal, Apple reportedly cancelled plans to include such capabilities as heart beat monitoring and blood pressure monitoring into the Apple Watch, because of the regulatory hurdles.
Apple closed up a fraction of a percentage point to end the day at $101.17.
Uber is testing the use of an emergency phone number that riders and drivers can call, but cautions it should be reserved for matters that fall below a 911 situation, according to a report in Inc.
The test is being conducted in 22 cities across the nation and has been underway since October. Although Uber is not calling it a "hotline" number, but rather a Critical Safety Response Line, according to Inc. The ride sharing company draws the distinction in that riders and drivers should still call 911 in a life-threatening emergency.
The Critical Safety Response Line, according to the report, is reserved for such situations where a rider leaves their insulin shot in an Uber car and would need it much faster than waiting for a response to their Uber customer support email.
For those curious about this Critical Safety Response phone number, it is 800-353-8237, according to a Business Insider report.
John McAfee, founder of the security software company that is now a unit of Intel (INTC) - Get Report is touting how he would be able to crack the encryption on the iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorist.
That particular iPhone has set the stage of a security battle between Apple and the FBI. Following the attacks, the FBI is using the court system to pressure Apple into building a backdoor on its mobile operating system, the iOS, to allow it to retrieve data and information on the terrorist's iPhone. Apple, however, has refused, noting that building such a backdoor would also give cyber criminals and access point should the software code fall into the wrong hands or is hacked.
McAfee, however, told Ars Technica that if he were provided access to a probe machine he believes the FBI posses, the iPhone 5C's A6 processor could be de-capped and he could then retrieve the encryption key for that device.
Intel shares closed at $31.25, up 1.3%.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.