The acquisition is unusual because it appears Apple plans to keep selling the Beddit hardware while collecting sleep-related data from users. For that reason, we took a look at some of the things Apple might be planning to do with this data and how it might impact future products.
Apple appears to have purchased Beddit for its sleep sensing technology. Beddit uses a $150 sleep monitoring device that’s placed under the bottom sheet of a mattress, collecting data on everything from sleep time and efficiency to heart rate and respiration. It also tracks movement, snoring, room temperature, and room humidity to determine factors that might disturb sleep.
Beddit’s sensor uses ballistocardiography (BCG) to measure the mechanical activity of the heart, lungs, and other body functions, a non-invasive monitoring technology that’s similar to the light-based photoplethysmography the Apple Watch uses to monitor heart rate.
With BCG, when the heart beats, it measures the mechanical impulse generated by the acceleration of the blood through the circulatory system, providing a wealth of data about the body.
Apple is likely interested in the sensor technology used in the Beddit device, and has indeed hired medical experts who have worked with ballistocardiography in the past, but the data collected also seems to be of interest due to the company’s decision to keep selling the Beddit sensor.
Beddit’s technology and data could be used for any number of things, from advancing sleep research for efforts like HealthKit and CareKit to implementing more advanced health-tracking technology and sleep monitoring functionality into the Apple Watch or other future wearable devices.
For the immediate future, it appears Apple will continue to sell the Beddit hardware as part of a standalone brand like Beats, but the company’s longer-term plans for Beddit are unknown.