The project was reportedly envisioned by Steve Jobs, who dreamed of smartwatches being used to monitor vitals like oxygen levels, heart rate and blood glucose levels.
Such a breakthrough would be a "holy grail" for life sciences. Many life sciences companies have tried and failed, as it's highly challenging to track glucose levels accurately without piercing the skin.Apple isn't the only company working on this sort of technology. Google's Verily unit for example teamed up with Novartis to develop smart contact lenses with similar functionality.
The initiative is far enough along that Apple has been conducting feasibility trials at clinical sites across the Bay Area and has hired consultants to help it figure out the regulatory pathways, the people said.