When the Apple Watch Series 8 arrives this fall, it may reinforce Apple’s focus on the health features of wearable devices.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gorman in his recent Power On newsletter, a series of new healthy aspects of the Apple Watch are planned, although not all of them will arrive this year. There will also be some great upgrades, and again, they may arrive in time for Series 8.
This is what we believe so far.
Even the first Apple Watch had a heart rate monitor. It’s not included for health tracking but so that Apple can measure calorie burn more accurately than competing devices based on your height, stride length, etc.
But since then Apple has added ECG measurement, blood oxygen levels, and notifications if your heart rate is suddenly high or low. He also watches Cardio Fitness.
When you have an EKG, it tells you if it can detect signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib). Gurman expects that the burden of Afib will be revealed, possibly as soon as this year, which will monitor how often a user is in atrial fibrillation.
Other health features will follow, but not yet. For example, it is believed that Apple is working on measuring the blood pressure of the Apple Watch. This is currently available on wearables such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or the Aktiia blood pressure bracelet. Both require monthly calibration with an independent blood pressure cuff – Aktiia helpfully supplies one of the bracelets. But Apple may feel that this is not an elegant enough solution.
Huawei has created a smartwatch with a wristband that bulges so that blood pressure readings don’t require separate calibration. But the watch feels sturdier, especially the strap. Gorman believes that 2024 or the next year is likely to be for blood pressure monitoring.
This is another holy grail of health tracking, non-invasive blood sugar monitoring. But, as Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer and ardent advocate for the Apple Watch, tells me, it’s no easy feat. Speaking to me in 2019, Williams said, “Non-invasive sensing of the human body is a huge challenge. I mentioned glucose, people have been talking about non-invasive glucose sensing for decades. I read every year that someone had a non-invasive glucose sensor ready.” And what I’m going to tell you is, it’s hard enough to detect glucose when you can access the interstitial fluid, it’s hard enough to do it with photons.”
Not then with her voice.
This is a useful metric that helps measure stress or improve understanding of sleep tracking, for example. Gorman thinks that could arrive this year, and it could be very exciting, depending on Apple’s plans for it.
This is very cool. If you’re in a place where there’s no cellular connection, as you might well be if you go for a walk, for example, you can’t call anyone, right? With this upgrade, users will be able to send SMS and SOS alerts to emergency services, even without cellular coverage.
Low Power Mode
Currently, if the watch’s battery is low, the low power mode only displays the time. Which, after all, is the minimum hour. But it is believed that some apps can operate while Low Power Mode is activated, providing an even greater benefit where the Watch’s battery has been running low.
Apple Fitness+ shows no signs of slowing down, with Time to Run and Pilates among the latest additions to the service. Plus, Apple frequently adds new exercises that the watch can measure, so you rarely need to choose others as a workout option. With each new exercise named, the accuracy increases.
New watch faces
The Series 7 introduced a significantly larger screen and some new faces were added, along with others that were optimized for larger real estate. The same will likely happen this fall in Series 8.
Other health benefits
Gurman also anticipates that the iPhone Health app may add new sleep tracking, women’s health features and medication tracking, all of which are undoubtedly bundled with the most intimate gadget, the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is still months away. Check back for more details as we have.