The Apple Watch Series 9 is already a solid smartwatch. But Apple plans to add even more health-related features on the next release of the wearable. According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on new sensors that detect elevated blood pressure and if you suffer from sleep apnea. Apple has adjacent plans for the AirPods and Vision Pro, too, and it may even launch a new subscription service that supercharges its current paid offerings.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that, according to people familiar with the development of it all, Apple is working on an “evolving approach to health care.” So far, there are plans for a sensor to detect when your blood pressure rises. It won’t show you exact systolic and diastolic measurements the way the sit-down blood pressure measurement machines do at the pharmacy. But a follow-up version of the tech could support that in a later generation of the Apple Watch.
The new sensor to detect sleep apnea is a little more limited. It works by monitoring your sleeping and breathing habits before then pinging with a notification to encourage you to see a doctor.
Your AirPods could also become more valuable once Apple figures out how they can join the “hearing-aids space.” Some hearing aids are already compatible with the iPhone, but this would let you use your AirPods to help determine if your hearing abilities need checking out. For those splurging for the Vision Pro when it eventually makes headway, Apple is exploring leveraging the virtual reality headset to help with anxiety and fitness. The company is working on expanding its current paid fitness offerings to offer personalized workout and eating suggestions.
For the most part, Apple’s foray into healthcare includes extending capabilities to its devices so that folks can aggregate more data and take it to a healthcare provider. Another piece by Gurman describes even loftier goals. Apple’s ideal future is its users needing “fewer single-function medical devices like blood pressure checkers and thermometers, fewer blood draws and fewer visits to the doctor.”
Regardless of the future trajectory, it would be nice to see these helpful, health-centric features coming to the Apple Watch. Generally, whenever one company leads the way with new offerings in the consumer gadget space, others begin following suit. Now, we just need Google to follow suit for the Android brethren. The Pixel Watch 2—our full review coming soon—may have the requisite features like improved heart rate monitoring, but the Apple Watch is already generations ahead.
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