Apple tablet reps spotted at LA hospital

Representatives from Apple have visited executives for Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center “three or four times” to talk about the Apple tablet’s potential for  medical professionals at Cedars-Sinai, according to entrepreneur Jason Wilk.

Wilk, the founder of a startup company backed by the Y-Combinator incubator group, wrote on his blog that “My Dad plays golf with Cedas-Sanai hospital execs, who say they have been getting frequent visits from Apple about a new device in the last 6 weeks.”

In a phone call, Wilk said the number of visits was “three or four” and that his second-hand information suggested Apple wasn’t yet trying to close a sale, but rather probing for possible uses for the new device, which is almost certainly the tablet computer Apple plans to debut on January 27th.

It would be oversimplification to interpret the visits as proof that Apple plans to focus on medical professionals, rather than home consumers, as the tablet’s primary market.

Instead, the question is: Can Apple succeed where PC makers have failed?

We’ve been told for years that medical professionals were the guaranteed-to-succeed market for tablets. Bill Gates raved about his in 2006. But tablets like the Dell Latitude XT2 XFR, pictured above, have stiffed again and again, in part because of their ungainly laptop-with-a-backwards-facing-display design.

motion-computing-c5Wilk notes that the $2,000 Motion Computing C5 is one of the few successful devices on the clinician market, thanks to its one-piece, easily-carried form and lab-smock-white casing. A new generation of slimmer, cheaper tablets — analysts estimate Apple’s will list for $1,000 — might finally make sense for doctors and nurses to carry instead of a clipboard.


Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.