FCC document suggests Apple may launch new Beddit device

The filing is a strong indication the Cupertino tech giant isn't done with standalone sleep monitoring devices.
By Jonah Comstock
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It looks like Apple's not yet done with Beddit, the sleep-tracking device startup it acquired in May 2017. An FCC filing  suggests strongly that the company is planning to launch a new version of the device, likely with more traditional Apple design but retaining the Beddit brand.

Launched in 2013, Beddit's under-the-sheets strap leverages ballistocardiography (BCG), a method which uses motion sensing to detect individual heartbeats from cardiac contraction forces and breathing rhythm from chest wall movements. The strap measures bed time, awakenings and bed exits, sleep time, sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep), testing heart rate, sleep quality and breathing movements, which also analyzes if the user is snoring. From there the strap uses Bluetooth to connect with the companion app, which offers personalized coaching, a wellness diary, a history of sleep recordings and a social sharing option.

VentureBeat has inferred from details in the FCC filing that Apple's new device will be an incremental update to the latest Beddit (version 3) and that "a rendering of the mandatory FCC label suggests that it will have a fairly standard Apple power cable with tiny text markings, notably including 'Designed by Beddit in California.'"

Why it matters

Apple never really killed the Beddit brand — the device is still on its website, for instance — but nor has it signalled any intention to embrace it. It's the norm for Apple to acquire companies for their team or foundational technologies and then fold them into Apple products. When Apple — limiting their functionality but not bricking them completely — it certainly looked like the beginnings of a phase-out for the brand.

Now it looks like Apple sees a future for the tracker, which could be linked to the fact that the Apple Watch continues to omit sleep tracking from the growing suite of healthcare functions on the Apple Watch, likely a function of the wearable's comparatively short battery life.

What's the trend

Apple's relative lack of involvement hasn't kept the sleep tech space from being a bustle of activity, as it has been for a number of years.

Headworn devices, which offer access to more data than under-the-sheets devices or traditional wearables, are one hot area. Dreem, which makes an EEG-sensing headband, raised $35M in June and Beddr's recently-launched Sleep Tuner can monitor blood oxygenation from the forehead.

Another major player in the space is SleepScore Labs — a joint venture between ResMed, Dr. Oz Media and Pegasus Capital Advisors that's best known for its less, bedside sleep quality measurement device. It acquired startup Sleep.ai in April and launched its own app in June.