Apple could add Touch ID to its Apple Watch, eliminating the need to enter a passcode.
A new report suggests the tech giant could add fingerprint biometrics to the digital crown or below the screen.
Consumers can see the new technology in the Apple Watch Series 7, which is also reported to have an improved battery, wider support for LTE and WiFi 6.
Apple could also completely refresh the next-generation device with a ‘fresh design’, built-in apps and improved Siri capabilities.
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Apple could add Touch ID to its Apple Watch (inventory), eliminating the need to enter a passcode. A new report suggests the tech giant could add fingerprint biometrics to the digital crown or below the screen
The report is published by The verifier, which claims to have received information about the next Apple Watch.
“One of Apple’s intriguing operating systems, the watchOS is expected to receive a major update in the first few years, The Verified shares.
“The update is expected to add a new design to the system, and the built-in apps will also receive updates that we haven’t seen in recent years.”
Aside from longer battery life and improved Siri, the report also lists new software that can track oxygen and sleep patterns in the blood.
Consumers can see the new technology in the Apple Watch Series 7, which is also reported to have an improved battery, wider support for LTE and WiFi 6. Apple could also completely refresh the next-generation device with a ‘fresh design’, built into apps and improved Siri capabilities (stock)
However, news of the watch measuring oxygen in the wearer’s blood first surfaced earlier this month.
The new features will send blood oxygen readings to existing versions of the Apple Watch, as well as the new model, expected to be unveiled in September.
When Apple Watch detects low blood oxygen saturation below a certain threshold, a notification is sent to the wearer, as is the current heart rate notification capability, according to 9to5Mac.
The feature is powered by a built-in ‘pulse oximeter’ – a small device that estimates the amount of oxygen transported by red blood cells.
The blood oxygen software was reportedly revealed through a leak of the code from Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 for its next-generation smartphones, which the accompanying app is said to contain.
Aside from longer battery life and improved Siri, the report also lists new software that can track oxygen and sleep patterns in the blood. As with the current heart rate notifications from Apple Watch and associated apps, the new blood oxygen measurement feature would send alerts to users’ smartphones if their blood oxygen levels fall too low
The feature could be a major selling point on Apple’s upcoming smartwatch, as many existing blood oxygen measuring devices are bulky.
It has not been confirmed what hardware and software is required for such a function or how the technology would work.
But it’s likely the feature would come with watchOS 7 – the upcoming operating system for Apple Watch – or even work with watchOS 6, the current version.
Apple Watch hardware already includes a built-in heart rate monitor that can measure oxygen levels, the report said.
A so-called pulse oximeter has been placed on the back of the device since the original Apple Watch was released in 2015 – suggesting it was a matter of getting the right software to make the feature work.
WHAT IS A PULSE OXIMETER?
Pulse oximeters are physical devices that estimate the amount of oxygen transported by red blood cells.
It does this by sending infrared rays of light into the capillaries in a person’s finger, or any other part of the body with fairly thin skin.
Blood oxygen measurements are called oxyegn saturation levels – abbreviated as SaO2.
This is given as a percentage of how much oxygen your blood carries compared to its total capacity.
Normally, more than 89 percent of the blood must carry oxygen.
Pulse oximeters are useful for people with conditions that affect oxygen saturation.
For example, people with lung disease may have lower blood oxygen levels than normal.
Source: American Thoracic Society
Pulse oximeters are non-invasive devices that use wavelengths of light to approximate the oxygen carried by your red blood cells.
Blood levels between 95 percent and 100 percent are considered healthy, while anywhere below 80 percent can compromise organ functions.
When blood oxygen levels are low, symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and a fast heartbeat.
The new update may help people with hypoxemia – low blood oxygen – or those at a higher altitude, such as mountain climbing, when the blood’s oxygen saturation decreases.
Apple is also reportedly working on an upgrade to the electrocardiogram (ECG) function, which was introduced with the Apple Watch 4, unveiled in 2018.
The ECG function records the timing and strength of the electrical signals that make the heartbeat.
It records heart rhythms when users experience symptoms such as a fast or skipped heartbeat, allowing doctors to get critical data in an emergency.
However, the feature results in inconclusive measurements for heartbeats below 50 beats per minute or more than 100 beats per minute, Apple says.
An update would remove that limitation and comes with an upgraded version of the companion ECG app.
Apple is one of nine companies that are part of a government-backed program to develop healthy products and get them to market faster.
The company claims that its products “are changing the way doctors and nurses work with their patients.”
“I think when you zoom out on the future, you look back and ask the question,” What was Apple’s greatest contribution to humanity? “It’s about health,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC last year.
APPLE SMARTWATCH HEALTH FEATURES
Heart rate alerts: Apple Watch checks for unusually high or low heart rate in the background, which could be a sign of a serious underlying condition.
If a patient’s heart rate is greater than 120 beats per minute or less than 40 beats per minute while they appear to be inactive for 10 minutes, the user will receive a notification.
Irregular rhythm messages: This checks for signs of irregular rhythms that may indicate atrial fibrillation (AF).
AF is an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) characterized by a fast and irregular heartbeat in the heart.
Irregular rhythm messages use the optical heart sensor to detect the pulse wave on the wrist.
ECG app: Patients who experience symptoms such as a fast or skipped heartbeat or receive irregular rhythm reports can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) and register their symptoms.
An EKG is a simple test that can be used to monitor heart rhythm and electrical activity.