Future Apple Watch Rumored to Include Glucose Monitoring and Smart Bands

Apple is planning major new health features for future versions of the Apple Watch, according to a new report from BGR citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans.

The company is said to be working on implementing a new glucose monitoring feature and interchangeable smart bands, which could add new health functionality to the Apple Watch. Both features have been previously rumored in the past, but BGR suggests the functionality could be coming soon.

It has been rumored that Apple is interested in glucose monitoring, and it appears that the time may now be right. Previous rumors have stated that Apple might only be able to achieve this through a separate device that might complement the watch, however BGR has learned that this might not be accurate.

In April, a CNBC report suggested Apple had a team of biomedical engineers working to develop sensors for non-invasively monitoring blood glucose, with work on the sensors far enough along that the company had started conducting feasibility trials. BGR claims Apple has hired more than 200 PhDs in the health field in the last year with the aim of "innovating in the health space" through a glucose monitoring feature that will be released in an "upcoming Apple Watch."

The site also says Apple is working on interchangeable "smart watch bands" that would add "various functionality" to the Apple Watch, allowing Apple to introduce new features without driving the base cost of the wearable device higher. Glucose monitoring could perhaps be introduced through one of these smart bands, rather than added to the watch itself.

A smart watch band with such functionality makes some sense, as Apple CEO Tim Cook has said previously that Apple does not want to put the Apple Watch through the FDA approval process, something that would likely be required for the introduction of a glucose monitoring feature. A standalone band would allow Apple to get the approval it needs without impacting the base device.

Along with glucose monitoring, BGR says that an Apple Watch band that adds a camera to the watch is another possibility, as is a battery band that extends available battery life. Apple has filed multiple patents covering modular smart bands for the Apple Watch that connect to the device through the Apple Watch diagnostic port.

While BGR says the new features will be added to an "upcoming new version of the Apple Watch," it is not clear if that means the third-generation Apple Watch rumored to be coming in the fall of 2017. Current information about that device has suggested it will be a more minor update focusing on improving battery life and performance, with few design and hardware updates.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6, watchOS 7
Tag: bgr.com
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
41 months ago
Blood chemistry monitoring in the watch could make it more popular than the iPhone. If we had a device that could tell us how what we ate was immediately impacting us, or if something is 'off' with our blood signifying potential illness... wearables would become a near-necessity for everybody.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
There is no current non-invasive way to measure blood glucose in the medical industry - if there was, every diabetic would already be using it and we'd be using it in hospitals. We just aren't. Most of the devices floating about now are hit & miss, not very accurate and require calibrating with an actual blood sample.

I'm not saying it's impossible that Apple might come up with it, but it's pretty damn close to impossible. Plus, I doubt Apple is going to attempt to go down the road of making the Apple Watch a 'medical grade' device - slightly more hoops to jump over there (FDA in the US for a start)... for good reason. If it's not accurate, it will cost lives.

People who think blood glucose can be detected the same way the pulse is detected on the watch (using differential absorption of light), clearly have no understanding of physiology, physics or biochemistry... current monitors make a lot of assumptions.

And for non-diabetics, what the hell are you going to do with the data - the signal to noise ratio shrinks even further, yet we think we're all 'well informed'. The Dunning-Kruger effect on display.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

I don't want a "battery band"... if that thing starts getting hot, having something burning the circumference of your wrist is NOT a great idea.

I think you're confusing Apple with Samsung.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
They would sell so many more based on glucose monitoring alone. It would be sweet (pun intended).
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago
Non-invasive blood glucose monitoring would make the new Apple Watch an instant buy for me, a Series 2 owner. Even if that technology made the watch $150 or $200 more expensive than the Series 2, I'd still buy it in a heartbeat and I suspect many other people would do the same.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
41 months ago

There is no current non-invasive way to measure blood glucose in the medical industry - if there was, every diabetic would already be using it.

I'm not saying it's impossible that Apple might come up with it, but it's pretty damn close to impossible. Plus, I doubt Apple is going to attempt to go down the road of making the Apple Watch a 'medical grade' device - slightly more hoops to jump over there... for good reason.

People who think blood glucose can be detected the same way the pulse is detected on the watch (using differential absorption of light), clearly have no understanding of physiology, physics or biochemistry...

I have no knowledge on the subject, but I would think $200B in the bank allows for some heavy research and development. Maybe they figured out a new method? Who knows. Health seems to be a major focus for the company moving forward.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Warns Against Closing MacBooks With a Cover Over the Camera

Friday July 10, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
Apple this month published a support document that warns customers against closing their Mac notebooks with a cover over the camera as it can lead to display damage. Image via Reddit Apple says that the clearance between the display and the keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances, which can be problematic. Covering the camera can also cause issues with automatic brightness and True Tone....

iPhone Users Who Experienced 'Batterygate' Can Now File to Receive Around $25 Settlement From Apple

Monday July 13, 2020 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this year, Apple agreed to settle a U.S. class action lawsuit that accused the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhone models. Now, eligible iPhone owners are beginning to be notified about their legal rights and options. Under the proposed settlement, Apple will provide a cash payment of approximately $25 to each eligible iPhone owner who submits a claim, with its total payout ...

Possible 'iPhone 12' Battery Certifications Suggest Lower Capacities Than iPhone 11 Series

Monday July 13, 2020 4:22 am PDT by
MySmartPrice has spotted certifications for three new Apple batteries that it believes could be for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, despite them being less capacitive than the batteries in the current iPhone 11 series. The batteries are identified with the model numbers A2471, A2431, and A2466, and appear on Safety Korea, China's 3C, and the Danish agency UL Demko. Apple is expected to...

Google to 'Dramatically' Improve Chrome Impact on Mac Battery Life

Sunday July 12, 2020 1:56 pm PDT by
Google will address long-standing battery life issues, particularly on Mac devices, reports The Wall Street Journal. Chrome will improve "tab throttling" by better prioritizing active tabs and limiting resource drain from tabs open in the background. This is said to have a "dramatic impact on battery and performance." Google has reportedly been performing early tests on Mac laptops in...

Arm-Intel-PowerPC Universal Binaries Are Possible

Saturday July 11, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
Casual MacRumors visitors may not realize that we have a very active PowerPC forum where users discuss issues related to PowerPC Macs that have not been produced since 2006. Threads range from hardware upgrades and software options to nostalgia: Photo by AphoticD Apple's recently announced transition to Apple Silicon (Arm) based Macs raised some interesting questions about future support...

Apple Pays Samsung an Estimated $950 Million for Missing OLED Panel Purchase Targets

Monday July 13, 2020 10:03 am PDT by
Apple in the second quarter of 2020 paid Samsung approximately $950 million for not meeting OLED panel purchase goals established in agreements between the two companies, according to display analysts at Display Supply Chain Consultants. Samsung last week shared guidance on revenue and operating profit for the second quarter of 2020, which included a one-time gain related to its display...

Apple Shares Humorous 'Working-From-Home Thing' Video

Monday July 13, 2020 9:31 am PDT by
Apple today shared a funny video focused on the problems that people working from home have to deal with, including noisy children, chaotic schedules, communication issues, and more. The video focuses on showing off Apple products and their capabilities that can be useful when working from home, such as the ability to scan a document with an iPhone, mark up a PDF, Siri Reminders, and more.The...

SoftBank Considering Possible Sale of Arm Holdings as Apple Gears Up for Arm-Based Macs

Monday July 13, 2020 2:00 pm PDT by
SoftBank, the company that owns chip designer Arm Holdings, is exploring options that include a full or partial sale or a public offering, reports The Wall Street Journal. SoftBank is working with Goldman Sachs Group as an advisor, and the explorations are at an early stage. The Wall Street Journal says that it's unknown how much interest there would be in Arm from financial or industry...

Rumor Suggests New Apple App for Windows Could Be Coming Soon

Tuesday July 14, 2020 1:54 am PDT by
Apple could be working towards the release of a new app for Windows 10, according to a report this week from an Italian website. The blog Aggiornamenti Lumia suggests that an app from Apple is "coming soon" to the Microsoft Store, but stops short of providing additional details. Apple still maintains a Windows version of the iTunes app, which has been discontinued on Mac and replaced by...

Deals: Amazon Taking $400 Off 16-Inch MacBook Pro, Starting at New Low Price of $1,999.99 for 512GB

Monday July 13, 2020 5:34 am PDT by
Amazon has introduced a new low price on Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro today, including both 512GB and 1TB models. Starting with the 512GB model (2.6GHz 6-Core, 16GB RAM), you can get this notebook for $1,999.99, down from $2,399.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....