The Apple Watch may soon be able to measure blood oxygen levels. Based on snippets of code inside iOS 14 acquired exclusively by 9to5Mac, Apple is developing two new health features for the next version of its smartwatch, likely to be called Apple Watch 6. At the moment it’s unclear whether these will be limited to the next-generation Apple Watch or also roll out to existing models through a software update.
Apple is said to be designing a new health notification that will go out whenever the watch detects the user’s blood oxygen levels have fallen below an alarming threshold. This will function similarly to the Apple Watch’s existing irregular heart rate alerts and nudge the user to consult a doctor instead of revealing anything conclusive.
A number of critical health conditions are associated with this health metric. When your blood oxygen saturation slips past the normal range, it can cause respiratory troubles and eventually lead to a cardiac arrest. As Apple continues to position the Apple Watch as more of an accessible health tool rather than a smartphone companion, the addition of blood oxygen detection will prove handy and compliment the rest of the features.
The ability to detect blood oxygen saturation is growing increasingly common among smartwatches. Fitbit brought it in January earlier this year to a handful of its products. French wearable maker, Withings’ latest, the ScanWatch can also record your blood oxygen levels.
All of these existing implementations rely on a set of special red and infrared sensors to measure blood oxygen levels. Therefore, it’s possible Apple’s new feature will be exclusive to the Watch Series 6. Although as per 9to5Mac, there is a chance it may come newer Apple Watch models with watchOS 7.
In addition to that, the Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram function may be all set for an upgrade. The Cupertino, California-based company is reportedly testing a better ECG app for the Watch Series 4 and Series 5 that will be capable of delivering more accurate results for heart rates between 100 and 120 beats per minute instead of producing inconclusive readings.
Apple is also rumored to be working on a sleep-tracking feature for the Apple Watch. The new feature, which was first detailed last year, will keep tabs on the user’s quality of sleep through a range of sensors and inputs such as their movement at night, heart rate, noises, and more.
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