Apple Watch’s exciting feature road map is stacked

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Apple is reportedly preparing a hodgepodge of exciting new features and capabilities for the Apple Watch in the coming years. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple plans to add new features aimed at sleep, fitness and medication management for women. The Workout app for Apple Watch is touted to get new stats and support for more types of exercise.

A body temperature sensor is also rumored to be in the pipeline and may appear on the Apple Watch Series 8 which is due out this fall. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the ability to measure temperature will come in handy for fertility management, informing women about the state of their ovulatory cycle.

The company also plans to use it for fever detection. Interestingly, the body temperature sensor probably doesn’t tell the temperature reading and only warns about variations in body temperature compared to normal levels. There are also plans to add support for third-party blood glucose meters to the Health app.

With the WatchOS 9 update likely to be discussed at WWDC in June, Apple also plans to improve the atrial fibrillation system (AFib) that alerts Apple Watch users to irregular heart rhythms. Apple is reportedly planning to add a metric called “last” that will record AFib frequency over a period of time.

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There are also plans for an improved power saving mode in WatchOS 9, which will allow users to interact with a handful of apps and access a few features. It is currently called Power Reserve and once turned on only the time is displayed on the screen. You cannot use an app and the Watch also stops communicating with paired devices.

Another promising feature in the pipeline for the Apple Watch is support for satellite connectivity. However, it’s unclear if this feature will make it to the Apple Watch refresh later this year. The iPhone 14 series is likely to introduce support for satellite connections, which will allow users to send SOS messages when they can’t access cellular networks.

Some major delays

The list of rumored feature updates for the Apple Watch Series 8 is exciting, but there are a few key features that have been delayed. According to the report, the blood pressure monitoring technology for the Apple Watch will not be ready until 2024 at the earliest, and more likely in 2025. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 provides the function via a pulse wave analysis system, while the Huawei Watch D has set up a system of micro pumps and airbags to protect the to measure blood pressure. Earlier this year, Valencell presented a promising calibration-free blood pressure measurement system for wearables.

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Apple is currently testing blood pressure readings for the Apple Watch among its employees, but technical issues with accuracy have delayed development. Once implemented, the sensor will alert users if a spike in blood pressure levels is detected. However, it won’t exactly tell the blood pressure reading when the heart contracts and relaxes due to the flow of blood. Or to put it more accurately, the numerical systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings are said to be out of the equation.

Apple has also been working on a non-invasive system for measuring blood sugar, something Samsung would also investigate. However, the technology isn’t there yet on a medical-grade device that’s widely available, let alone on a miniaturized scale for a wearable like the Apple Watch. The Bloomberg report states that blood glucose monitoring is still several years away and no schedule has been set for its arrival.

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