Marcelo Malini Lamego is known for his work in noninvasive monitoring technologies. He was just hired by Apple (AAPL 1.66%) in January. The hire was first spotted by Network World. Lamego isn't Apple's first hire from the medical sensor space. In fact, he's just one of many of Apple's recent hires that are heralded as experts in the industry. What's Apple doing hiring experts from the medical field? If rumors are true, he is probably working on a new product in Apple's pipeline that the rumormill is calling an iWatch.

Marcelo Malini Lamego's image from his LinkedIn profile. Image source: Screenshot from LinkedIn.

The hire
Lamego has been credited for a number of patent applications and granted patents in sensor and patient monitoring technologies. He has written more than 30 peer-reviewed articles on topics such as neural networks, power electronics, and adaptive systems, according to his LinkedIn profile. One of the devices he helped develop can measure oxygen content, total hemoglobin, carboxyhemoglobin, methemoglobin, and more.

Apple's 6th generationiPod Nano can be worn as a watch.

Lamego will join his former company's chief medical officer and executive vice president of medical affairs, Micael O'Reilly, who was also recently hired by Apple.

According to MobiHealthNews, Apple's team working on an Apple iWatch has grown to more than 200 people now.

What will the so-called "iWatch" do?
Considering Apple's continuous stream of key hires in areas related to wearable health devices, combined with the fact that Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised "new categories" in 2014, it's very likely that investors will see an iWatch this year. What features may the device have include?

Unfortunately, there isn't the faintest idea yet about what Apple's iWatch will look like. Mockups of the device vary widely. But potential features based on a hyperactive rumormill for the device include the following:

  • The display will likely be made of sapphire crystal, tapping into Apple's recent contract with GT Advanced Technologies.
  • The smartwatch may have its own iOS capabilities.
  • The iWatch will likely be a peripheral device that works in conjunction with an iPhone.
  • It may send data to an iPhone app that could potentially act as a repository for health and fitness information. The app, referred to as HealthBook in the rumormill, may allow third-party developers and other health wearable makers to somehow be a part of the app's ecosystem.
  • Health metrics that may be tracked include calories burned, glucose levels, heart rate, sleep quality, and movement.

Investors shouldn't underestimate the iWatch
Historically, investors have drastically underestimated the potential of Apple's new categories, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. While it would be wise for investors not to speculate that the product will be a blockbuster, they should at least consider the new category as a potential upside bonus to Apple's business.