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Apple, IBM jump into bed for health data love in

Budge up Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic

IBM Watson QA Power7 cluster

Apple has partnered with IBM to use Big Blue’s former Jeopardy contestant Watson to crunch cloudy data obtained from Cupertino's fruity and still hard-to-come-by watches.

The move is part of IBM’s unveiling of its Watson Health Cloud, intended to provide a platform for health researchers to aggregate information collected from iOS users who opt-in to contribute their personal medical data.

IBM claims the growth of personal fitness trackers and connected medical devices means the average person will generate more than one million gigabytes of health-related data in their lifetime.

"We need better ways to tap into and analyse all of this information in real-time to benefit patients and to improve wellness globally," said John Kelly, IBM senior vice president.

IBM and Apple will expand their partnership to provide "a secure cloud platform and analytics for Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit," it said.

An estimated one million consumers have pre-ordered the coveted wristjobs from Apple.

The deal with Apple is not exclusive. Big Blue also announced plans to partner with Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to "help optimize consumer and medical devices for data collection, analysis and feedback".

The move is part of its latest efforts to "rebrand" its traditional hardware and software biz after posting 11 consecutive quarters of declining sales.

Last month it announced plans to spend $3bn over four years on a new Internet of Things business unit.

IBM has already set aside $100m (£66m) for investments in cognitive app startups, part of the $1bn (£655m) it is investing in the "Watson-as-a-cloud" unit.®

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