Skip to main content

Future version of the Apple Watch could save your life during an emergency

apple watch contacting urgent care sport  350
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The Apple Watch has been the most successful smartwatch to date, but mainstream consumers continue to wait for more compelling features to jump in. One of those features might have been revealed thanks to a recent patent filing from Apple.

Discovered by Apple Insider, the “Care Event Detection and Alerts” patent refers to an electronic device that can detect a “care event” by monitoring environmental and user data from one or more sensors. The device can also send alerts if necessary.

A care event refers to any event in which a user might need medical attention. Examples in the patent include a car crash, bike accident, medical emergency, separation of a child from a caregiver, mugging, and more.

Detecting a care event involves monitoring the sensors on the device and/or from another device. For example, a car crash might be detected if the accelerometer experiences a sudden change in speed. Another situation could be a heart attack if a heart rate is no longer detected.

The final piece of the puzzle involves notifying one or more individuals or entities based on a care list set by the user. These include ambulances, firefighters, police, and hospitals, as well as friends or family. The care list determines how these individuals or entities are contacted. Users can set which contacts are alerted based on the type of care event, and they can even select the order in which they are alerted.

The software is designed to work whether the user is alert enough to initiate communications or incapacitated. The device could offer prompts for a user to select if they do or do not want alerts sent. However, if the user is unable to provide confirmation, an alert could still be transmitted, but it would include information that the user was unable to respond.

We need to make it clear that Apple did not mention the Apple Watch specifically in the patent, but it seems to be the perfect device for this application. It has a heart rate sensor and it can work with an iPhone as a secondary device for additional sensors and the transmission of alerts.

Unfortunately a patent doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be implemented, so it’s unknown what Apple’s plan is. However, with many reports indicating that medical data will play a key role in future smartwatches, we won’t be surprised if this feature shows up on the Apple Watch soon.

Editors' Recommendations

Robert Nazarian
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Robert Nazarian became a technology enthusiast when his parents bought him a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color. Now his biggest…
The 6 biggest announcements from Apple’s iPhone 15 event
Invite for Apple's September 2023 event.

Apple Event - September 12

Every year brings something new, and that's doubly true for smartphones. Summer is on the way out, and while the retreat of the sun is bad news for many, there's a bright silver lining on this cloud: The release of the Apple iPhone 15. Apple has brought the basic iPhones into line with the Pro models, giving even the cheapest flagship models access to the Dynamic Island and the design refresh that we loved in last year's Pro iPhones. But that isn't all, as the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max were also revealed, with improvements of their own.

Read more
This is the Apple Watch Ultra 2, and it looks stunning
Apple Watch Ultra 2

Last year, the Apple Watch Ultra chiseled a new category of lifestyle products. While a segment of adventure-centered smartwatches already existed, the Apple Watch Ultra merged the gap between bulky, sometimes distastefully designed outdoorsy smartwatches and ones fitting every occasion.

Apple announced the Apple Watch Ultra 2, with some notable improvements over the first generation, at its big September 2023 event, alongside the iPhone 15 and the Apple Watch Series 9. It's not a particularly flashy or eye-catching upgrade, but it should be important nonetheless.
A faster (and smarter) S9 chip

Read more
How to watch Apple’s iPhone 15 event today: 5 easy ways
A screenshot of Apple event links from the Apple TV app on an iPhone

Apple's next press event is set to kick off today, Tuesday, September 12, beginning at 10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET. The uniquely named "Wonderlust" event will almost certainly introduce the world to the iPhone 15 series and next-generation Apple Watches — including the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2. We could also see USB-C finally arriving on the Apple AirPods Pro.

Like last year's event, the iPhone 15 event will be streamed across various platforms, including Apple's website, on iPhone/iPad and Apple TV, X (formerly known as Twitter), and YouTube. Here's a look at how to stream the highly anticipated event as it happens later today.
How to watch the iPhone 15 event on your iPhone or iPad

Read more