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Blood pressure and body temperature tech said to be coming to future Apple Watch

By Cookie Monster - on 2 Sep 2021, 12:00am

Blood pressure and body temperature tech said to be coming to future Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 6.

Apple is believed to be working on several advanced health-tracking features for the Apple Watch.

Sources familiar with the plans and internal company documents told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that Apple is developing new health-related features for the Apple Watch which include blood pressure monitoring, a therometer to assist with fertility planning, blood glucose and more advanced sleep tracking. 

Apple's version of blood pressure monitoring is unlike medical devices; it does not show a baseline measure of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The version of the feature being discussed at the moment will show users a trending chart of their blood pressure. There is internal debate on how useful such a feature would be for the user, and sources believe plans could change. 

A report in 2017 shed light on how Apple is developing blood pressure monitoring technology. It plans to use a sensor-equipped band and the Apple Watch to measure the blood pressure, a concept which BGR dubbed as interchangeable "smart watch bands". 

As for the body temperature sensing technology, it could arrive on the Apple Watch Series 8 via a new sensor. The technology could be used for fertility planning as it can give clues to women about their ovulation cycles. Apple is also hoping that the technology could be used for detecting fevers, but it is unknown at the moment whether it will be available at launch. 

For blood glucose monitoring, Apple has been rumoured for years to be working on it. CNBC reported in 2017 that Apple assembled a team of 30 biomedical engineers to work on sensors to detect blood sugar levels. ETNews reported earlier this year that blood glucose monitoring feature could arrive this year on the Apple Watch Series 7. The non-invasive sensor could come from Rockley Photonics, a startup that develops these optical sensors for capturing biophysical and biochemcial markers. Apple is stated to be the biggest customer of the startup and has an ongoing "supply and development" agreement.

The current sleep tracking feature on the Apple Watch is basic when compared to the likes of its rivals Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung. Apple knows that and is working on new sleep tracking features such as advanced sleep patterns and sleep apena detection. However, these advanced sleep tracking features drain battery at a faster rate and Apple is working to minimise the impact on battery life.

Existing features on the Apple Watch could receive updates later this year if FDA gives the approval. One update would allow people diagnosed with irregular heart rhythm to use the ECG feature to track their condition. Another update for the blood oxygen sensing technology would alert users if the blood oxygen levels drop. 

There is another health-related tracking feature in the works. Apple was recently granted a patent application for a hydration tracking feature where an innovative sensor on the Apple Watch can sample perspiration and determine the concentration of electrolytes.

Source: WSJ via 9to5Mac

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