Apple Watch Series 8 to Gain Health Features Thanks to New Hardware
The Apple Watch Series 8 will feature new hardware to facilitate further health monitoring, according to recent reports.
Body temperature monitoring for the Apple Watch has long been rumored by sources like Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, but over the past year rumors have crystalized around the feature finally debuting on the Apple Watch Series 8 later this year. Reports indicate that while it is unlikely to offer exact body temperature measurements, the sensor will be used to provide at least two new health monitoring features.
The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman state that the body temperature sensor will aid fertility planning, giving women insights into their ovulation cycle. Apple has focused on women's health in recent years, so expanding features in this area seems to be in line with the company's objectives.
Moreover, the body temperature sensor could be used to improve the detection of patterns when tracking sleep. Apple leveraged blood oxygen sensing capabilities during sleep starting with the Apple Watch Series 6 and significantly bolstered the Apple Watch's sleep tracking in watchOS 9, meaning that further improvements in this area aided by hardware this year seem very plausible.
Apple is also said to have plans to enable the body temperature sensor to detect when a user has a fever, but it seems unlikely that this feature will be available upon the launch of the Apple Watch Series 8. Gurman believes that further in the future, Apple Watch models could determine if a user has a higher than normal body temperature, but it is still unlikely to show an exact measurement.
According to Kuo, Apple originally intended to offer a body temperature measurement feature with the Apple Watch Series 7 models, but the company shelved the plans when the body temperature algorithm it had developed failed to meet requirements before the device entered the engineering validation testing (EVT) phase last year.
The problems Apple has experienced relating to body temperature measurement purportedly relate to the fact that skin temperature quickly varies based on the environment, and since a smartwatch cannot monitor core body temperature using hardware, the feature is heavily dependent on an algorithm that produces accurate results.
Gurman recently said that Apple's blood-pressure monitoring technology is not expected to arrive until 2025, and blood-glucose monitoring is not set to be ready until "nearer to the end of the decade."