Apple has been revealed to be the largest customer of the British electronics start-up Rockley Photonics. The company has developed non-invasive optical sensors for detecting multiple blood-related health metrics, including blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels. These types of biometric data are only normally detectable with more invasive and dedicated medical equipment.
Rockley’s sensors beam infrared light through a user’s skin which are very similar to the existing sensors on the back of the Apple Watch already used to detect heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
As part of Rockley preparing to go public in New York they revealed that Apple is its biggest client. The company’s filings said that for the last 2 years Apple accounted for the majority of its revenue and that it has an ongoing “supply and development agreement” with the company, from which it will continue to heavily rely on Apple for most of its revenue.
Given the growth of Rockley Photonics and the scale of Apple’s partnership with the company, it seems to be virtually inevitable that the company’s health sensor technology will be coming to the Apple Watch sooner rather than later.
Rockley has said that its next-generation sensors could be in consumer smartwatches and other electronics as soon as next year. This could align with the launch of Apple Watch Series 8 models. Until now, rumours had indicated that the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 would gain blood glucose monitoring, but Rockley’s comments may indicate that the feature has been delayed until 2022.