As wearable-makers look to compete on health features, Apple is reportedly looking to add a blood pressure and thermometer feature to its watches. According to the Wall Street Journal, the built-in thermometer would be for fertility planning, and could be available as early as 2022.
Apple isn’t the only company working on these features. In Fitbit’s Sense smartwatch, the company added a skin temperature sensor and a new ECG app, which was cleared by the FDA to detect atrial fibrillation last year.
Fitbit is also studying its smartwatches’ ability to measure blood pressure using pulse arrival time, which measures how long it takes for blood to reach a person’s wrist after their heart beats. But wrist-based devices still aren’t proven to be as accurate as upper arm blood pressure monitors, and pose their own challenges, including getting people to hold their wrist at heart level.
Another company, Samsung, is using its optical heart rate sensor for blood pressure monitoring, but it still has to be calibrated using a traditional blood pressure measurement. The feature isn’t yet FDA cleared.
Apple has some more features planned for the future, according to the Wall Street Journal. In the shorter term, the company is also looking to update its features for detecting arrhythmias and sleep tracking. And in the longer term, it has ambitions for its smartwatches to detect sleep apnea and diabetes.
Apple could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
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