Apple plans to add new health features to future Watch products, including blood pressure tracking
Apple is reportedly working on advanced health features for its smartwatch that will make it possible to measure blood pressure, skin temperature, sleep apnea, and more right from your wrist.
According to a new report from Wall Street Journal, the blood pressure feature that Apple is currently discussing would show users how their blood pressure is trending, though it would not provide a baseline measure of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Apple is studying a proxy that involves measuring the speed of the wave a heartbeat sends through a person’s arteries using sensors in the Apple Watch. Multiple reports in the past have pointed at Apple bringing blood pressure monitoring to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7. However, WSJ notes that the tech is still in development and won’t be ready anytime soon.
Samsung’s smartwatches have long offered blood pressure monitoring, but the feature is only available in select markets, isn’t very accurate, and needs to be calibrated using the traditional cuff every few weeks. As such it will be interesting to see whether Apple will be able to tackle these challenges and make the feature actually usable without many caveats.
The wrist thermometer is also on the cards and it could be ready as soon as the next year. One of the planned use cases for the temperature sensor is fertility planning. Later down the road, Apple hopes to use the sensor for detecting fevers as well, the report says. The ability to measure skin temperature is currently offered by the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Charge 4.
Apple is also reportedly studying a feature that might be able to detect diabetes, however, the work remains at a very early stage, a person familiar with the project told WSJ. Beyond that, the company is looking into the possibility of using the blood oxygen sensor on the Apple Watch to detect signs of sleep apnea.
Finally, the report says that Apple is planning to roll out new updates to its existing smartwatches that will add support for irregular heartbeat monitoring and the ability to alert users when their blood oxygen level drops.
Apple is expected to unveil the new Apple Watch Series 7 alongside the iPhone 13 lineup later this month. The new smartwatch series will reportedly feature a brand new design with flat edges, an upgraded display, a faster processor, and improved health and fitness features.