New Apple Watch Health Features Coming This Year, but Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Sensors Delayed
Apple is still planning to add body temperature monitoring and new health features to the Apple Watch this year, despite experiencing development problems with blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring, in addition to multiple new features in the iPhone's Health app, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
Apple has reportedly been working on an updated sensor for the Apple Watch that is capable of determining if a user has high blood pressure, but accuracy has been an issue when testing the technology on employees. The feature is purportedly able to tell users if they may have hypertension, rather than provide specific systolic and diastolic readings. Apple is said to have been working on the feature for at least four years, but it is unlikely to be ready until 2024 at the earliest and may slip to 2025.
Apple is also working on non-invasive blood glucose monitoring, but the feature is still believed to be several years away and the company is not yet targeting a release year. In the meanwhile, Apple has discussed improving support for third-party glucose meters on the Apple Watch and on the iPhone's Health app to help users with diabetes.
In the immediate term, Apple is working on bringing new women's health features to the Apple Watch and iPhone, as well as new sleep, fitness, and medication management features in the iPhone's Health app. The company is still planning to add a body temperature sensor to the Apple Watch this year, with the feature initially designed to aid fertility planning. Future Apple Watch models could determine if a user has a higher than normal body temperature, but it is unlikely to show an exact measurement.
As part of watchOS 9, Apple is planning to improve its existing atrial fibrillation detection feature with a new capability to measure how long a person is in a state of atrial fibrillation across a certain period. There may also be more workout types and additional metrics for running workouts in the Apple Watch's Workout app.
iOS 16 may feature improvements to the Health app that expand sleep tracking functionality, as well as add new medicine management and women's health features. Apple is said to be developing a medicine management tool to allow users to scan their pills into the Health app and remind users to take them, but the initial version that is set to launch this year is unlikely to include all of the functionality that Apple has planned.
Amid Apple's work on new health features and a number of departures on the company's health team, Gurman added that some employees have been unhappy with Apple's progress, arguing that enhancements are taking too long, not enough risks are being taken, and that the Health team has not grown in at least two years.