Multiple New Health Features Not Ready for Apple Watch Series 8
While the Apple Watch Series 8 is reportedly on schedule to feature a body-temperature sensor when it launches later this year, Apple's more advanced health technology is still some time away.
Bloomberg's Mark 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."
Earlier this year, Gurman reported that Apple had been working for at least four years 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 so far. The feature is purportedly able to tell users if they may have hypertension, rather than provide specific systolic and diastolic readings, a rumor backed up by the Wall Street Journal.
As opposed to the common methods that measure blood pressure using an inflatable cuff wrapped around the upper arm, Apple's system apparently measures the speed of the wave of a heartbeat through a user's arteries using sensors. The Apple Watch would then show a user how their blood pressure is trending, but would not be able to provide a baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurement.
Plans to bring diabetes detection to the Apple Watch are also purportedly underway, but the company is said to have faced challenges with non-invasive blood glucose measuring and struggled to make progress.
In the immediate term, Apple is working on bringing 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.
Last year, it was revealed that Apple is the largest customer of Rockley Photonics. Rockley Photonics has developed non-invasive optical sensors for detecting multiple blood-related health metrics, including blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, many of which are only normally detectable with more invasive dedicated medical equipment.
Rockley's sensors beam infrared light through a user's skin, much like the existing sensors on the back of the Apple Watch for detecting heart rate and blood oxygen levels, so it seems highly likely that Rockley's technology will play a major part in Apple's plans to add more health monitoring capabilities to the Apple Watch in the future.