According to the latest news reported by the Wall Street Journal, Apple would like to be able to make an Apple Watch with even more health-focused features in the future. Apple’s plans would include various types of monitoring, such as the blood pressure, temperature, sleep apnea and blood sugar. These details come along with some bad news: the release of the next Apple Watch may be delayed due to production problems.
The Apple Watch in the future will have more and more features – new sensors will arrive
Some of the planned features reported by the Wall Street Journal involve theadding new sensors to the watch. Apple would like to develop a sensor that can measure blood pressure without squeezing the wrist. Blood pressure measurement has been on Apple’s plans for years – the company filed a patent application in 2016 for a wearable blood pressure monitor.
Apple’s competitors are also interested in blood pressure monitoring. The Galaxy Watch di Samsung it was approved last year to monitor changes in blood pressure in South Korea. It also discussed the accuracy and usefulness of the feature, which needs to be calibrated with traditional blood pressure monitors every four weeks.
Apple this year also had plans to add a temperature sensor to the clock, according to previous Bloomberg reports. But it looks like the addition has been moved to next year. The first intended use for temperature sensing, according to the WSJ, could involve the fertility monitoring, with the hope that it can also though detect fever.
Photo Credits: Apple.
Other wearable devices, such as Sense of Fitbit, have skin temperature sensors, although that measurement is different from core body temperature read by a thermometer. Also earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Natural Cycles, a solution that uses body temperature to determine a woman’s fertility, to use temperature data from wearable devices such as the Oura smart ring.
Improved sleep tracking
Apple would also like to expand the watch’s sleep and blood oxygen monitoring capabilities, to one day be able to detect thesleep apnea. Sleep disorders are complicated, and diagnostic sleep studies involve different types of monitoring during the night. Apple, for the feature to be useful, would probably have to find the best time to take blood oxygen readings. Keeping the sensor on all night would drain the battery fairly quickly.
Apple also reportedly plans to apply for FDA clearance for existing Apple Watch features. These would include heart rhythm monitoring for people with irregular heart rhythms and alerts for drops in blood oxygen levels. The current FDA clearance for the watch’s ECG feature does not include use by people who have been diagnosed with a heart rhythm condition such as atrial fibrillation and the watch’s blood oxygen monitoring is not licensed as a medical device.
One of the features Apple is continuing to study, according to the WSJ, is the blood glucose monitoring and the diabetes detection. Apple has been trying to develop non-invasive glucose monitoring for years and has reportedly not been very successful.
The anonymous sources cited by the WSJ warn that many of the features considered “may never be implemented for consumers”. Advances in healthcare technology and regulatory approval for them require years of development and testing. As much as companies want to add a range of health features to wearables, they are still not advanced enough to replace conventional diagnostic tools.