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.

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Top Rated Comments

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44 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)
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44 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)
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44 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)
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44 months ago
They would sell so many more based on glucose monitoring alone. It would be sweet (pun intended).
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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44 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
44 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)

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