Thursday, January 27, 2022

Apple Watch Series 8 may not have a body temperature sensor after all

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If you had been hoping for extra thrilling updates with the Apple Watch Series 8, you would possibly have to begin tempering expectations. While it was initially thought that the next-generation watch would have a body temperature sensor, it’s wanting like that may not be the case after all.

A body temperature sensor for the Series 8 has been closely rumored for a while now. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman — who has a fairly good observe document in terms of Apple rumors — first hinted a body temperature sensor was coming in June. That was echoed by The Wall Street Journal in September for a potential fertility function. Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo additionally predicted a body temperature sensor that very same month. All in all, there have been a number of stable causes to consider this was within the pipeline.

However, in his newest Power On e-newsletter, Gurman has backtracked. When talking concerning the Series 8’s potential for body temperature sensing, blood glucose monitoring, and blood stress capabilities, Gurman wrote, “Don’t expect any of these soon, though. Body temperature was on this year’s roadmap, but chatter about it has slowed down recently. Blood pressure is at least two to three years away, while I wouldn’t be surprised if glucose monitoring doesn’t land until later in the second half of the decade.”

For blood stress and blood glucose, this makes a lot of sense. While there’s been a lot of headway in noninvasive, cuffless blood stress monitoring in wearables, the know-how merely isn’t there but. The similar applies to blood glucose monitoring. Although the function was rumored for the Series 7 and in Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4, it by no means materialized. The tech does exist in a nascent type — a prototype from Japanese startup Quantum Operation was featured at CES 2021 — nevertheless it’s nowhere close to prepared for consumer-grade gadgets. Of the rumored options, body temperature sensors appeared probably as they’re already obtainable in a number of different shopper wearables, together with these from rivals like Fitbit. In truth, body temperature sensors in wearables gained a lot of consideration in 2020, when researchers used them to attempt to decide whether or not smartwatches might detect COVID-19.

Currently, body temperature sensors are largely used for sleep and restoration monitoring, although fertility wearables like Ava may additionally function them. While Apple has added sleep and interval monitoring up to now few years, they’re on the easier aspect. Adding a body temperature sensor would doubtlessly assist stage up these explicit options, particularly if the corporate is planning on including fertility-related options as reported by The Wall Street Journal. However, Apple is infamous for sitting on options different machine makers have already applied till it’s pleased with its personal model.

“Chatter slowing down,” as Gurman places it, doesn’t imply a body temperature function is totally lifeless. However, it does convey up one other level: maybe it’s unrealistic to anticipate Apple to introduce a new groundbreaking, industry-leading function yearly on its smartwatch. It’s true that because the Series 3, Apple has outpaced the competitors when it got here to superior smartwatch capabilities. The Series 3 launched mobile, the Series 4 modified the design and added FDA-cleared EKGs, the Series 5 added an always-on show, and the Series 6 added a SpO2 (blood oxygen) sensor. However, the additions have been much less buzz-worthy beginning with the Series 6. Not solely have SpO2 sensors been on smartwatches since 2017, however the Series 7’s marquee function was additionally simply a bigger display screen.

Right now, the Apple Watch is the hottest smartwatch in the marketplace, and Apple has a yearslong lead on the competitors. Wear OS watches are amid a sophisticated transition to a new unified platform with Samsung. Fitbit and Garmin may have superior well being options and higher battery, however they each lag in sensible options like mobile connectivity. Samsung comes closest, however lots of its well being and health options aren’t fairly as polished. Technically talking, there’s no want for Apple for the time being to dramatically shake issues up within the quick time period — particularly because it’s already investing sources in additional groundbreaking well being analysis.

Advanced well being options, particularly nascent ones like noninvasive blood stress and blood glucose, will take a whereas earlier than they’re prepared for shopper use. And even when they’re “ready,” they’ll in all probability have to undergo the FDA clearance course of. In the meantime, it’s greater than doubtless that future Apple Watch updates will focus extra on design, incremental {hardware} upgrades, and software program updates that make use of present sensors. Case in level: Gurman additionally forecasted the Series 8 would see a rugged sports activities model and a new entry-level mannequin. That stated, maybe we’d all calm down if Apple might lastly work out embrace multiday battery life.

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