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Apple Watch may soon measure blood pressure, blood glucose and BAC
The best smartwatch could be about to get even better.
The Apple Watch could be about to gain a ton of exciting new health features, according to a new report by The Telegraph. This could include blood pressure, blood glucose and blood alcohol content measurements, thanks to an ongoing "supply and development agreement" with UK tech start-up Rockley Photonics.
The report claims that Apple is the largest customer of Rockley Photonics, which has developed a number of non-invasive optical sensors designed to detect blood-related health metrics. They work by projecting infrared light through the skin (similar to the Apple Watch's existing sensors) to measure blood pressure, blood glucose and BAC. As it's such early days, little is known about how accurate these sensors will be compared to standard hospital-grade medical equipment. However, Rockley CEO Andrew Rickman told Gazetta Byte that the technology will allow their chip-sized sensor to go "a lot further than smartwatches today," though admittedly "not as deep as a blood draw".
As Rockley prepares to go public on the NYSE, the company's filings state that Apple was responsible for the majority of its revenue over the previous two years.
As for when we can expect to see these new health features, it seems we won't have much longer to wait. Rockley has indicated that its sensors may find their way into consumer smartwatches as early as 2022, which would align with Series 8 of the Apple Watch. This does, however, put to bed rumours that blood sugar monitoring would be coming to this year's Apple Watch Series 7.
The news comes just days after the release of watchOS 7.4, which brought support for the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications to Australian and Vietnamese users three years after it was made available to other countries. Given these features were delayed due to lack of TGA approval, it's also important to note that the approval process for these additional blood-monitoring features may delay their availability for Australian Apple Watch owners beyond the expected 2022 release.