Long-running rumors point to the 2024 Apple Watch being really special in some ways. A new design is one of the hottest rumors, but it looks like Apple wants to take another health-focused leap forward by allowing the smartwatch to read blood pressure and look for signs of sleep apnea.
According to Bloomberg, the next Apple Watch will be equipped with a new sensor that will measure variations in blood pressure. A successor expected in 2025 could measure accurate systolic and diastolic blood pressure values.
For starters, it looks like Apple is taking a cautious approach. The feature has reportedly been in development for nearly a decade, but it looks like the 2024 Apple Watch will finally offer buyers the capability, according to a Bloomberg investigation.
The idea here is that the watch will notice any abnormal fluctuations in blood pressure and notify users accordingly. Think of it as an early warning that a person can share with their doctor to see if they are at risk for a serious problem.
Blood pressure sensing will apparently follow the same early warning pattern as AFib detection on an Apple Watch capable of electrocardiogram (ECG) sensing. However, Apple won’t be the first one to the party.
Xiaomi recently launched Xiaomi Watch H1, which is capable of measuring blood pressure using a micropump array installed inside the strap. The company has also received Food and Drug Administration approval for it as a Class II medical device. Samsung also offers the ability to measure blood pressure on the Galaxy Watch 6. The Huawei Watch D was the first company to offer this feature on a mass-market device.
Interestingly, Apple also explored a band-based approach similar to Xiaomi and Huawei. Bloomberg claims that Apple was once testing a blood pressure sensor placed inside an uninflated strap. It was reportedly the brainchild of famous former Apple designer Jony Ive.
“The company prototyped watch straps with sensors that collect data from below the wrist and bed with sensors to monitor users overnight before putting the technology in the watch,” Bloomberg reports. “Researched both mounted sleep trackers and nightstand devices.” ,
Additionally, the ability to detect symptoms of disorders such as sleep apnea is also available. The Apple Watch already offers a fairly comprehensive sleep analysis system, but it does not cover medical assistance for serious sleep problems.
According to Bloomberg, the sleep apnea detection system will rely on sleep as well as breathing patterns to spot signs of sleep apnea. This is not a proper diagnosis, but a broad estimate. Based on what it concludes from the data, the upcoming Apple Watch will accordingly suggest users to visit a doctor.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, approximately 5.9 million American adults have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), while approximately 23.5 million remain undiagnosed. The cost of diagnosed OSA is approximately $2,100 per person, while for an undiagnosed case, it is estimated to reach more than $6,300 for each person.
Apple has a chance to capitalize on this health gap with its particularly smooth execution of the way it implemented features like AFib detection and fall detection.