Apple previously mentioned that it sees health and medical initiatives as a huge area for expansion in the coming years. Which seems true as Apple has begun working towards Sleep Tracking and Fitness Apps for the new Apple Watch.
When the Apple wearable was first launched, iPhone-maker described it as a fitness device. However, It still lacks a number of features a fitness device should have. The Apple Watch doesn’t track elevation and it does not record weight lifting sessions. Also, the multi-sport mode is absent which is a big disappointment for triathletes. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is continuously working towards making the Apple Watch a better ‘fitness device’ by adding Sleep tracking feature in the new watch which was absent before. Additionally, a new function will likely be present which will interpret user’s general fitness based on heartbeat data.
According to the report, the new heart rate app will be more advanced and efficient. The company is also looking forward to expanding its health kit. The current Apple Watch can track wearers’ motion and heart rate, but doesn’t interpret this information. It is possible that Apple might add the two new features in the current watch. However, it is not clear how exactly they will work. watchOS 3.1 is currently in beta for developers but has almost no new user-facing features.
Most Apple devices, iPhone 7, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, have a thing in common: their miserable battery life. Given the same issue in Apple Watch, creating the Sleep tracking feature can get complex. For now, Apple suggests charging the watch at night time. Of course, they can add the feature in the new Apple Watch hardware and suggest users to charge it at a different time of the day. Though that can be very inconvenient for some people as they cannot charge the device while wearing it.
Before Apple Watch debuted in 2014, there were a lot of rumors about the wearable including a multitude of health sensors. Also that it will track blood glucose or blood oxygen. However, the watch did not quite live up to the reputation of Apple symbol in the market. It just had a heart rate sensor and an accelerometer. Therefore, we are not expecting much for the Apple Watch update just by the rumors.
“If they are going to an FDA device, it would need to have enough battery life to last a day, and something where it independently functions from your phone,” said Yuri Teshler, a health-care consultant at Moor Insights & Strategy. Apple can’t really do anything more with health-related sensors until the watch has a wireless LTE chip and the independent cellular connection that comes with that, he added. Apple has so far struggled to do that.
Adding new medical sensors would also likely require approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a much higher bar for Apple to cross.
Diving in deeper, Apple wants to expand HealthKit service from a simple repository of user health data into a “tool that improves diagnoses” from doctors. Details on how this will work are scarce. However, it likely includes a centralized platform for doctors and medical professionals. So that they can access all the relevant data regardless of their location. For now, the Health app in iOS merely shows the statistics it has collected. It does not try to interpret the readings.
HealthKit collects data from the Apple Watch and other devices. It can further be used to address pain points. Also, it facilitates sharing of data between doctors and patients with ease. With amazing features like alerting users when their health is in trouble. Conducting preliminary analysis and more. According to the reports, these features are likely to be added the new device. It can be a huge benefit to those who can afford it.