A Worm in the Apple

A Worm in the Apple

Yesterday there were several reports that Apple was scaling back their work on a driverless car. According to one article in the New York Times; “The company has put off any notion of an Apple-branded autonomous vehicle and is instead working on the underlying technology that allows a car to drive itself.” So just what does this have to do with our wacky world, well at first glance nothing. But as often happens in our wacky world this is worth a second deeper look.

It has been widely reported that Apple has a super-secret project underway and is developing the coolest most whiz bang toy, a non-invasive continuous glucose monitor. Yes, reports have circulated that Apple has assembled a team of All-Stars who in secret are making this way cool whiz bang toy a reality. Based on what we know these All-Stars as talented as they are have not been able to overcome some very significant technological hurdles. Still rumors are rampant that Apple with all their talent and all their money will go where no one has gone before.

Now never mind that no one seems to have asked the simple question of whether they should go there, this quest or dream lives on. Yet this news regarding their work in driverless cars should send a clear and unambiguous message that just because a company has tons of talent and tons of money everything is NOT possible. At minimum, it should tell all the Apple pickers that this way cool whiz bang toy is no closer to reality than it was 5, 10 or even 15 years ago.

It amazes us that just because Apple is doing something everyone just assumes they will be successful doing it. They seem to forget that even undefeated teams don’t always win the championship, just ask fans of the New England Patriots. Or how about the Golden State Warriors who had a 3-1 lead only to lose their quest for a NBA title. Heck it took the Chicago Cubs 108 years before they became World Series Champions, which when you think about it is almost as long as people have been working on a non-invasive glucose monitor.

Listen we don’t doubt Apple’s talent nor can you ignore their over-sized war chest, however as we have tried to point out money does not buy everything. A true non-invasive continuous glucose monitor is an extraordinarily complex device with some very high technical hurdles to overcome. This is one reason after all these years and the millions spent we don’t have one. Yet the Apple pickers seem to ignore this pesky fact, they seem to believe that pigs can fly and President Trump will give up his Twitter account.

Now does this mean they should not try, that they should not even make the effort? Of course not. However there does come a point of no return, where they must acknowledge that this quest is no longer worthy of the money being thrown at it. That even if by some miracle they overcome these huge hurdles this is just the beginning of an even bigger money drain, getting the damn thing in the hands of patients and making money doing so.

As we witnessed yesterday when Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) publicly acknowledged what we have written about already, CGM ain’t easy. It’s one thing to design it and get it approved by the FDA. It’s a whole different story when it comes to making millions of these suckers.

Yes, we will admit that part of us wants this way cool toy as we know firsthand the value of CGM. However, given what we know about where CGM is going having a non-invasive sensor isn’t that big of a deal. Would it be nice, yes, is it absolutely necessary not by a long shot.

Listen we understand the fascination with everything Apple. But as Momma Kliff used to say; “Sometimes you have to acknowledge that some things just aren’t worth doing. That it’s not a failure to give it 100% and then call it quits. Actually, it’s a failure when you can’t bring yourself to say enough is enough. This isn’t smart it’s just hubris.”