According to patent filings from Apple this week, it looks as though the company plans to turn your iPhone and iPad into a heart rate monitor. Much like the unhackable Swiss Army Knife, you will soon be able to add a James Bond level of security to your device as well as heart rate information to your apps. Though I wouldn't ditch your ANT+ heart strap just yet.
On May 6th, Apple filed a patent for a Seamless Heart Rate Monitor made up of an integrated sensor for detecting a user's cardiac activity and cardiac electrical signals. Several leads for detecting your heart rate will be coupled to the interior surfaces of the iPhone or iPad housing in order to hide the sensors from view. By simply placing your hand or finger on the housing, your heart rate can be measured.
When reading the patent application, it does not appear that Apple plans to open up this functionality to application developers to include in say hiking, running or even healthcare apps. The patent seems to suggest instead that Apple plans to use your heart rate attributes for user authentication or identity verification.
Once your identity is verified based on your cardiac signals, the iPhone or iPad will provide access to your private or personal information or to load your personal profile. Your heart rate can be used to gain access to your bank accounts, make purchases, see your telephone history or even offer up applications according to your current mood.
So what do you think- should Apple open up the heart rate monitor for use in sports related applications? Or would it be useless since you have to keep your finger or hand on the iPhone in order to actually measure your heart rate. This might work for running but would be pretty much impossible in cycling situations. Thoughts? Do you see Apple as a viable force on the heart rate monitor scene?