Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor

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The Apple Watch Series 6 will add blood oxygen monitoring to its features list when it's launched later this year, according to a new report from DigiTimes.

Apple Watch 6 will feature biosensors that can monitor sleeping conditions, detect blood oxygen and measure pulse rates, heartbeats and atrial fibrillation, and will also incorporate MEMS-based accelerometer and gyroscope, all allowing the new device to continue to lead in measurement precision among wearable devices, the sources said.
The Taiwan-based website's sources say that the next-generation Apple Watch has undergone "smooth development" thanks to close collaboration between Apple and Taiwanese company ASE Technology, which has obtained major backend orders for the device.

Leaked code found in iOS 14 has previously suggested Apple is working on an Apple Watch that can detect blood oxygen levels.

Based on the discovered code, Apple will provide notifications when blood oxygen levels drop below a healthy threshold, which is right around 95 to 100 percent saturation. A drop in blood oxygen level can suggest a serious respiratory or cardiac problem.

It was not clear from the code if the feature would be limited to new Apple Watch Series 6 devices or if it would come as a software update in watchOS 7, but today's report suggests it may be exclusive to the Series 6.

When the original ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ was released back in 2015, iFixit actually discovered that Apple's heart sensors have the capability to monitor blood oxygen levels, but Apple has never activated it.

Other smartwatch and fitness tracker makers including Google-owned Fitbit already offer blood oxygen monitoring features in some of their wearable devices, so Apple is playing catch-up in the area, but that could mean the company has a more advanced implementation of the feature in the works.

Apple Watch Series 6 models, which are in development for a fall launch, are rumored to feature faster performance, better water resistance and improved wireless transmission for faster Wi-Fi and cellular speeds.

These improvements will be made in part through a rumored swap to liquid crystal polymer or LCP material for the flexible circuit boards expected to be included in the Apple Watch Series 6, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Article Link: Apple Watch Series 6 to Feature Blood Oxygen Monitoring Sensor
 
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Dulcimer

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2012
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244
Wait, does that mean sleep monitoring feature will be removed from all apple watches except series 6?
My guess is that basic sleep tracking functionality will be provided in all watchOS 7 AWs but the AW6 will probably support some advanced sleep tracking as a headline feature. Specifically:
  • Use of the new blood oxygen sensor to do a simple form of sleep apnea tracking (akin to the simple EKG feature in AW4/5).
  • Dedicated circuitry to ensure low-power modes of heartbeat/other sensors during sleep mode, which enables better data collection for advanced sleep tracking.
  • Faster charging to make morning top-offs quick while getting ready for the day ahead.
  • Apple will probably tout their magic algorithms developed by their health team to be best-in-industry.

These are just guesses because otherwise I don’t really know what else AW6 could offer other than standard speed and battery improvements. AW5 was already a sleeper update. Two years like that would be disappointing.
 

Biglethal69

macrumors newbie
Feb 21, 2019
20
5
Australia
It won’t be coming to Australia any time soon as we are still waiting for ECG two years later so I won’t be updating waste of money the Apple Watch 4 an Apple Watch five when you can’t use the features. Apple like to advertise but don’t deliver.
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This is not an Apple issue, it is an Australian Government Department of Health issue - - lobby them for access to Apple Watch health features.
I’ve contacted the correct government department and Apple I haven’t even applied for ECG in the last two years so it ain’t the Australian government.
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I'll bet 2 coffees that it won't launch in Australia !
I feel your pain man
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
I'm almost certain (unless it changed since earlier this month) that Alphabet/Google does not own Fitbit yet. It's a planned acquisition (seems like it's taken a long time) and the last I read they hope to do it by end of 2020. But I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened yet.

My guess is that this will be to give general information about relative drops in oxygen during sleep. I haven't seen any real pulse oxes yet that work like finger monitors. I haven't even had good luck with heart rate accuracy on wrist based devices, but I'm a bit of an edge case in that I have POTS so my pulse can go from 60 to 160 (on a bad day) from standing up and then right back down again. A regular pulse oximeter detects that. FitBit and Apple Watch do not. I have a pretty good pulse ox (MightySat) that even works well during motion, but it is a pain to keep it on your finger. I'd love to have a wrist-based solution but haven't seen it yet.
 
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TiggrToo

macrumors 68020
Aug 24, 2017
2,349
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Out there...way out there
I’ve contacted the correct government department and Apple I haven’t even applied for ECG in the last two years so it ain’t the Australian government.
Personal anecdotal evidence does not a proof make.

 

PickUrPoison

macrumors 604
Sep 12, 2017
7,093
8,679
Sunnyvale, CA
I’ve contacted the correct government department and Apple I haven’t even applied for ECG in the last two years so it ain’t the Australian government.
The exact same thing was said in Canada (that Apple hadn’t yet applied) for a couple years, then it was suddenly approved.

Whomever you talked to isn’t necessarily in the loop. Health departments are large organizations, and it’s often the case that “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing”.
 

recoil80

macrumors 68030
Jul 16, 2014
2,951
2,556
This addition is quite a big deal, especially in the context of COVID. A good Sp02 monitor costs around half the price of an Apple watch itself.
It is right on time.
I don't think they decided to add it after the pandemic started, as those things need time to develop, but if they include blood oxygen monitor they're going to sell a tons of Watches this fall.
 

AussieStu

macrumors member
Feb 28, 2006
30
23
And none of the features will work in Australia no doubt. Might as well keep with the Apple Watch 3 down here..
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I'll bet 2 coffees that it won't launch in Australia !

Oh it will launch here as they will want sales.. Yet we wont get any working features on it. So you're basically buying a over priced Apple Watch 3 here.
 

Crowbot

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2018
507
1,479
NYC
This addition is quite a big deal, especially in the context of COVID. A good Sp02 monitor costs around half the price of an Apple watch itself.
I've seen good fingertip units on Amazon in the US$30 range. It's not a very complicated technology and should have been in the S5.
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If they add blood sugar monitoring somehow then the Apple Watch is the device to get.
Blood sugar measurement is a much harder nut to crack. Currently there's no way to do it without a skin penetrating electrode. Whoever comes up with a non-invasive method will make billions.
 
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[AUT] Thomas

macrumors 6502a
Mar 13, 2016
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IIRC this has been discussed before and found that the current watch generations lacks the necessary LEDs?

This addition is quite a big deal, especially in the context of COVID. A good Sp02 monitor costs around half the price of an Apple watch itself.
At least a plain simple one for the fingertip, which is good enough for CoViD, will cost 40 bucks. I did some research as I bought 2 for my parents for that exact reason.

EDIT: rephrased due to bad grammar/spelling
 
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smythey

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2007
173
69
Scotland
I've seen good fingertip units on Amazon in the US$30 range. It's not a very complicated technology and should have been in the S5.
I can only speak to what we use locally, but the inexpensive units on Amazon etc are unlikely to be used where accurate and repeatable measurements are required.

Having said that, I would think that its application in the watch will be similar to the approach they've taken with ECG measurements. i.e - "Your Apple watch has detected oxygen saturation levels which may suggest a health concern. We suggest contacting a health professional for advice".

A sudden drop in Sp02 levels is what scares me most about COVID, and I would be very happy knowing that my watch was keeping an eye on it for me if I ever test positive.
 

bryn0076

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2010
72
91
BNE
This is not an Apple issue, it is an Australian Government Department of Health issue - - lobby them for access to Apple Watch health features.
Have you heard the one about the guy who blames a god for not winning the lottery ? The god replies "meet me half-way, buy a ticket!". Apple haven't applied to the TGA to have its existing ECG functionality listed on the ARTG.

I didn't allocate blame, I placed a stake (read 'your opinion was not solicited nor welcome').
If you want to take me up on the bet on the other hand....
 
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Crowbot

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2018
507
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NYC
IIRC this has been discussed before and found that the current watch generations lacks the necessary LEDs?

At least a plain simple one for the fingertip sensors which are good enough one will cost 40 bucks. I did some research as I bought 2 for my parents for that exact reason.
Right. The LEDs (red and IR) and the detector are fairly simple hardware and could have been in the S5. It's the interpretive algorithms that have to be approved by the FDA (and similar orgs outside the US) that are harder to do. The head of Apple's medical division used to be the CEO of Masimo, a major POx manufacturer so I'm a little surprised they aren't farther along.
 
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