Apple is reportedly working on several features that could soon make their way to the company’s Apple Watch models. According to a Bloomberg report citing the firm’s employees, the company has been working on adding new health-related features to its smartwatches, while planning services related to fitness and health. However, the company’s top executives are also said to be wary of Apple’s image that could be affected due to mistakes in the health sector, which has resulted in delays in introducing some health-related features on its devices.
Bloomberg reports that Apple is still spending “in the high tens of millions of dollars” per year as the company works towards adding support for blood glucose monitoring to a future Apple Watch model, despite challenges such as varying blood and skin types that affect accuracy of the sensor. The company has reportedly been using resources that also develop chips for its phones and computers to build the technology necessary for non-invasive blood sugar monitoring.
While there have been reports of the company’s efforts to build in support for blood glucose monitoring over the years, Bloomberg reveals that Apple created a company called Avolonte Health in 2011 that only top executives were aware of, and the original Apple Watch was expected to feature support for monitoring not only blood sugar but also blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and EKG levels — support for the last two health parameters eventually made their way to Apple’s smartwatches.
Just like the blood sugar monitoring feature, Apple is also working on adding blood pressure monitoring — albeit on a much more limited basis, showing trends (like increasing blood pressure) instead of actual figures. It is unclear from the report whether Apple will use existing hardware to achieve this functionality or introduce more advanced sensors on future models.
According to the report, other Apple-branded accessories that could work in tandem with the Apple Watch were also mooted by the company, such as an advanced watch strap that could collect even more information from the other side of the wearer’s wrist, a smart weighing scale, and wearable accessories that could provide better tracking while sleeping. There’s no word from Apple on whether it is actively working on any of these products, or whether they will be shipped at a later date.
Meanwhile, another wearable device from Apple — its first spatial computer, the Vision Pro — will soon offer features related to fitness and health, according to the report that claims the premium Fitness Plus service will make its way to the headset. The firm was also toying with the idea of health clinics — rival Amazon acquired One Medical earlier this year as part of its efforts to provide healthcare services — but there’s been no announcement from Apple on whether it plans to compete with Amazon and offer healthcare services.