Apple has a growing wishlist of health features for future versions of its smartwatch, some possible and some out of reach.
according to to report From the Wall Street Journal, the company’s plans include different types of monitoring, including blood pressure, temperature, sleep and blood sugar.
The details come right after reports that the release of the upcoming Apple Watch is likely to be delayed due to manufacturing issues.
Some of the planned features identified by the Wall Street Journal include adding new sensors to the watch. The company wants to develop a sensor that can measure blood pressure without putting pressure on the wrist.
Measuring blood pressure has been in the company’s plans for years. The company filed for a patent in 2016 for a wearable blood pressure monitor.
Apple’s competitors are also interested in tracking blood pressure. A Samsung Galaxy smartwatch was approved to track changes in blood pressure in South Korea last year.
There has been debate about the feature’s accuracy and usefulness, and it should be calibrated with measurements from conventional blood pressure monitors every four weeks.
Apple was planning to add a temperature sensor to its watch this year, according to previous reports from Bloomberg. But it appears that the addition has been postponed to next year.
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Apple wants a watch with more health tracking options
The first scheduled use of a temperature sensor may involve fertility tracking, in the hope that it will be able to detect a fever.
Other wearables, such as Amazon’s Halo Band and Fitbit’s Sense, include skin temperature sensors. This is despite the fact that this measurement is different from the internal body temperature read by a thermometer.
Apple also wants to expand its sleep and blood oxygen tracking capabilities. This is so that one day you will be able to detect obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that causes people to stop breathing during sleep.
Sleep disorders are complex, and diagnostic sleep studies include several types of monitoring during the night.
For this feature to work, the company may have to figure out the best times to take blood oxygen readings. Keeping the sensor running all night drains the battery very quickly.
Apple is also reportedly planning to obtain FDA clearance for existing watch features, such as heart rate tracking for people with arrhythmias and alerts about drops in blood oxygen levels.
The current Food and Drug Administration authorization for the Apple Watch’s EKG feature does not include use by people diagnosed with a condition such as atrial fibrillation. The blood oxygen monitor is not authorized as a medical device.
The issue of tracking blood sugar and detecting diabetes is one of the most distant features that Apple continues to study. AndThe company has been trying to develop non-invasive glucose monitoring for years, and is said to have had little success.
And the Wall Street Journal warned that many of the features being considered may never be released to consumers.
Health technology developments and regulatory approval take years of development and testing. And wearables are still not developed enough to replace traditional diagnostic tools.
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