Report: Apple Watch Could Feature Improved Sleep Tracking, Temperature, and Blood Pressure Monitoring in the Future

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 1 Sep 2021

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A Wall Street Journal report details all the new health-related features Apple is working on for future Apple Watch models. This includes informing a user when their blood pressure shoots up and a thermometer to aid fertility planning.

Next year, Apple could add a new sensor to the Apple Watch to read the wearer’s body temperature. This data could then help with fertility planning. Apple also hopes to use the sensor and the collected data to detect fevers.

Additionally, Apple is also working on improving the Apple Watch’s irregular heart rate detection feature. That and the sleep tracking pattern in Apple Watch could get an upgrade as soon as next year. The company is also working on bringing the ability to detect advanced sleep patterns to the Apple Watch next year.

The report claims that most of Apple’s “ambitious health-related” improvements will only make their way to the Apple Watch in 2022 or later.

Apple wants future Apple Watch models to detect sleep apnea and provide medical guidance to users when it detects low blood oxygen levels. Apple is researching if it can use the blood oxygen sensor on the Apple Watch to detect sleep apnea. It is even working on being able to track the wearer’s diabetes levels. However, Apple is still researching the technology behind these features, and it may scrap these features entirely.

Apple is planning to roll out a feature to track hypertension on the Apple Watch next year. Since a smartwatch’s sensors can’t replicate the cuffs wrapped around one’s upper arm, Apple is working on a proxy that measures the speed of the wave created by a heartbeat in one’s arteries. The feature will only show the user’s blood pressure trending levels, but it won’t be that useful without a baseline systolic and diastolic reading.

The version of the feature under discussion at Apple would try to show users how their blood pressure is trending, but without providing a baseline measure of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, according to people familiar with these plans. Some employees have raised questions to managers about how useful such a feature would be, the people said, though they cautioned that the feature is still in development and could change.

Apple is also in the early stages of studying a cuffless blood pressure device that could check one’s blood pressure levels without inflating.

Apple is working on a lot of new health-tracking features for the Apple Watch. However, it is not necessary that the company can bring all of them to its wearable due to technological and battery life limitations.

For now, Apple will launch the Apple Watch Series 7 later this month alongside the iPhone 13 series. The new Apple Watch will only feature design upgrades and won’t pack any major new health sensors.

[Via WSJ]