There’s the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod. Are the next steps for Apple the medical and car industries?

View of the famous logo at new Apple store in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Februrary 16, 2014. Some 1,700 impatient shoppers lined up for hours on the eve for the grand opening of Apple's store in Rio de Janeiro -- the first official outpost in South America. (AFP/YASUYOSHI CHIBA)

Sources say Apple could diversify into medical devices and even into the automotive industry. (AFP/Yasuyochi Chiba)

With the market on personal devices cornered, the tech giant is apparently actively looking at expanding its reach.

“They need the next big thing,” analyst Bill Kreher with Edward Jones Investments told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Enter medicine and cars.

According to the Chronicle, Apple has been hiring doctors and individuals who have lobbied the Food and Drug Administration. MacRumors pointed out last week that Apple was continuing to add to its team of biometric experts.

The future? “Mobile medical applications,” the Chronicle reported finding in FDA records.

An unnamed source told the Chronicle one such application could be a heart attack detector. This idea is based on software that had sensors that would listen to the sound of blood as it moves through arteries, potentially identifying those that are coated with plaque and could lead to blockages.

“It could be part of a larger portfolio of solutions aimed at the broader ecosystem of health care,” Kreher said. “That would be fascinating to watch.”

And then there are cars. While Google, which has its own smartphone and tablet devices, already has its foot in the automotive industry’s door with its research on self-driving cars, Apple may have some inroads in the works as well.

According to the Chronicle, a source said Tesla’s Elon Musk met with Apple executives at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, suggesting that the electric car company could be a target for Apple’s next venture.

Adnaan Ahmad, an analyst with the investment bank Berenbeg, wrote an open letter in October 2013, after this secret meeting, suggesting this very acquisition as well.

“I know this is radical and potentially ‘transformative’ but this would radically alter Apple’s growth profile,” Ahmad wrote. “In Elon Musk, you could strike up a partnership and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple’s innovation drive.”

Andrea James, an analyst who evaluates Telsa for the bank Dougherty & Co., told the newspaper that she could see the relationship leading to a partnership between the two companies, not necessarily an “a takeout” on Apple’s part.

Read more about the speculation on Apple’s future in the San Francisco Chronicle’s full report.

(H/T: Gizmodo)

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