'High-Accuracy' Apple Watch Temperature Sensor Revealed by Patent Filing Just Weeks Before Series 8 Unveiling

Apple has been granted a patent for a temperature sensor suitable for the Apple Watch, just weeks before the company is expected to unveil the Apple Watch Series 8 with body temperature sensing capabilities.

Apple Watch Body Temperature Finished
The newly granted patent, spotted by MyHealthyApple, was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is titled "Temperature gradient sensing in electronic devices." While the wording of the patent suggests that it can apply to any device, the only device depicted in the patent's illustrations is clearly the Apple Watch, potentially hinting what specific application Apple has in mind for the technology.

apple watch temperature sensor patent
Apple's patent protects an electronic device housing that encloses a temperature sensing system comprising a temperature sensor and a differential temperature probe. The system works by calculating the difference between two ends of a probe. One end touches the surface to be measured, while the other is connected to a temperature sensor. The difference in voltage across the different ends of the probe can then be correlated to a differential temperature measurement.

The temperature probe is configured to generate a voltage corresponding to a temperature gradient between a first end of the probe and a second end of the probe. The temperature sensor can be disposed within an electronic device housing. A first end of the probe can be coupled to the temperature sensor and a second end of the probe can be coupled to any suitable surface, whether internal or external, of the electronic device... In this construction, the temperature sensor can be configured to measure a temperature, at any given sampling time or sampling rate, of any surface or volume to which the sensing surface is exposed.

The patent goes on to explain in technical detail how the temperature sensing hardware works. Crucially, while the patent covers how a dedicated temperature sensor could be used inside a device to monitor the temperature of a component like the processor, it says that the sensor can be used to measure "absolute temperature" of an external surface, such as skin.

Most notably, Apple explicitly mentions how the location of the external probe may be located on a "back surface such as a back crystal of a smart watch" and says the system includes a "high-precision and high-accuracy absolute temperature sensor." The patent outlines several potential shapes and arrangements for the temperature sensor, with one of the more striking designs being a cross-shaped temperature probe.

apple watch temperature sensor patent 2
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi 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. This patent only covers the hardware setup for a temperature sensing system, rather than the algorithm required to produce accurate results.

While Apple's patent filings cannot be taken as concrete evidence of the company's exact plans since many of its patents are never used, they do show its areas of research and development, and sometimes reveal impending products, such as the AirTag.

In this case, it is difficult to look past the plethora of reports about the Apple Watch Series 8 offering a body temperature sensor – something that has long been rumored by sources like Kuo. Reports indicate that while the device 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.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 8
Tag: Patent
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

polyphenol Avatar
7 weeks ago

A simple $7 thermometer from Walmart or Target placed under the tongue or armpit can provide better results.

It’s gimmicky at first but yes this new feature will eventually improve…albeit in the slow yearly Apple software improvement fashion.
The big thing is that a watch, being worn substantially all the time, will take repeated measurements, store them and allow for comprehensive analysis - taking into account the other measurements it can make. For example, temperature might right to "normal" when walking briskly, exercising, etc., but drop in the middle of the night while asleep. Put those pixels together and get a picture.

A $7 thermometer doesn't give you all that.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
7 weeks ago
'High-Accuracy' Apple Watch Temperature Sensor Revealed by Patent Filing Just Weeks Before Series 8 Unveiling
...
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.

Huh?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WWPD Avatar
7 weeks ago
This will be great for revealing who are vampires.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cromulent Avatar
7 weeks ago
I will get the Series 8 as my first ever Apple Watch, so this is rather exciting to see.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
polyphenol Avatar
7 weeks ago
Everyone seems to walk right past the issue of lower than "normal" temperature. Which can be every bit as important as higher than "normal" temperatures.

Especially obviously for those with thyroid issues. Hypothyroidism is well-known for resulting in low blood temperature and even just being slightly under-dosed can have an impact on temperature.

While not what we'd really like, a good temperature measurement which can detect lowered as well as raised temperatures would be a welcome addition.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
7 weeks ago
Woo hoo! At least, we’re trying a new temperate sensor. I’ll take it. Apple should never release new Apple watches without adding any type of sensors in a year.

If we’re going to pay the premium price it has to offer premium features too. Software and hardware-wise.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Apple Watch Body Temperature Finished

Apple Watch Series 8's Body Temperature Sensor Won't Do What You Think

Wednesday August 17, 2022 2:48 am PDT by
The body temperature sensor rumored to come to this year's Apple Watch Series 8 models is not expected to offer exact measurements, according to multiple reports from reliable sources. 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 ...
Apple Watch Series 8 What We Know Feature 2

Apple Watch Series 8 to Gain Health Features Thanks to New Hardware

Wednesday August 3, 2022 2:19 am PDT by
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...
Apple Watch Body Temperature Finished

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 7 Missed Body Temperature Monitoring Due to Algorithm Problems, but Feature Could Still Come to Series 8

Sunday May 1, 2022 3:53 am PDT by
Apple canceled plans to add a body temperature sensor to the Apple Watch Series 7, but the feature could come to the Apple Watch Series 8 instead, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a thread of tweets, Kuo explained that 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...
apple watch series 8 trio

Apple Watch Series 8 Takes Five Nights to Establish Baseline Wrist Temperature

Friday September 16, 2022 5:50 am PDT by
Apple today published a new support document with additional details about the new wrist temperature sensing feature available on Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra models, and it turns out the feature requires users to wear their watch for five nights before it can detect a baseline temperature. Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra have two temperature sensors — one on the...
f1662570472

Apple Watch Series 8 Announced With New Body Temperature Sensor, Car Crash Detection, and More

Wednesday September 7, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today introduced the Apple Watch Series 8 with the same overall design as the Series 7, including a larger display that curves around the edges. One of the headline new features of the Series 8 is a new body temperature sensor designed for women's health purposes, such as knowing when ovulation has occurred. The new sensor in the Series 8 measures the wearer's wrist temperature every...
Apple Watch Series 8 What We Know Feature

Apple Watch Series 8 Might Be Able to Tell If You Have a Fever

Sunday July 3, 2022 6:36 am PDT by
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 will be able to tell a wearer if it believes they have a fever due to a higher than normal body temperature thanks to a new built-in sensor, according to Bloomberg's reliable Mark Gurman. Writing in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman says that the Apple Watch Series 8 will feature a new body temperature sensor, given that the sensor passes ...
honor earbuds3pro

Honor Unveils AirPods-Like 'Earbuds 3 Pro' With Built-in Temperature Monitoring

Tuesday March 1, 2022 1:02 am PST by
Honor has announced Earbuds 3 Pro that come with integrated temperature monitoring technology, a feature that has also reportedly been tested by Apple in AirPods prototypes. Market interest in building temperature measuring functions into earbuds has been mooted for some time now, as it could be useful for fertility tracking, keeping track of sleep, and in the future, it could also detect...
ember cup iphone

Ember Launches Smaller iPhone-Controlled Coffee Cup With Temperature Control

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:31 am PDT by
Ember this week expanded its lineup of temperature-controlled mugs with a new 6-ounce Ember Cup designed for espresso-based drinks such as cappuccinos, cortados, and flat whites. Ember Cup pricing starts at $99.95 in the United States, making it the cheapest option in the Ember lineup, but it is also quite small. With a built-in battery, the Ember Cup keeps your coffee or other hot beverage...

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. 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. The best deals are on cellular...
iphone 14 pro max deep purple

iPhone 15 'Ultra' Could Replace Pro Max Model Next Year

Sunday September 25, 2022 7:02 am PDT by
Apple is gearing up to possibly replace its "Pro Max" iPhone with an all-new "Ultra" iPhone 15 model next year, reliable Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that for the iPhone 15, Apple is planning a revamped design alongside USB-C and a potential name change. Apple could replace its "Pro Max" branding, which it started to use...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...