There’s not a lot Apple can do to improve its market-leading smartwatch family after adding built-in GPS support, standalone cellular connectivity and full water resistance over the past couple of generations.
We obviously hope next year’s Apple Watch Series 4 comes with significantly longer battery life than its forerunners, as well as perhaps an overdue redesign. But that’s it as far as existing technologies are concerned.
Beyond the usual slate of incremental performance enhancements, Cupertino will probably need to devise groundbreaking features from scratch to further advance the Apple Watch. And that’s precisely what the company’s goal is in the health tracking department.
At least that’s what a number of recent and semi-recent reports and patents have suggested, with the latest gossip shared by Bloomberg after talking to mysterious “people familiar with the plan.”
Unfortunately, there’s still no timeline for the possible launch of an Apple Watch variant with the native ability to record a user’s EKG. All we know is “the development process is ongoing and Apple may still decide not to include the technology in future products.”
If it does come to pass, the revolutionary functionality would allow the iOS-compatible intelligent timepiece to detect irregular heart rates and other cardiac abnormalities in an extremely unintrusive way.
As Apple envisions it, a user could simply squeeze the Apple Watch frame with two fingers from the hand that’s not wearing the device, with “imperceptible current” then passed through the person’s chest to track electrical signals in the heart.
That sounds incredibly complicated to implement in the near future, although a very similar technology has already been completed by a little company called AliveCor, which has also managed to gain FDA approval for the KardiaBand’s commercial use. But that’s still a third-party replacement band for current Apple Watch models, while Cupertino wants to integrate EKG or ECG monitoring directly into future generations of the wearable gadget.