Although the new product is set to be released in April, the health feature mysteries regarding the Apple Watch remain unsolved.
Up until now, this new device is expected to track steps, receive messages and call notifications while also allowing the user to check new mail. But what about all the planned health features?
Tim Cook, Apple CEO gave rather vague information regarding the product, saying its use is broad. The description was given last week: “one of the biggest surprises people are going to have when they start using it is the breadth of what it will do”.
It is interesting when thinking that in the beginning of its developing stage, the product was supposed to have a narrower purpose. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the Apple watch was initially designed to be a tracking device that could also determine heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels and other heart related aspects. So its main function focused on health.
In December of 2013, the first steps relating health features were taken when Apple and FDA executives met to go through regularizations regarding a glucose monitor based on sensor function.
However, that technology proved more troublesome that initially thought. Apple wanted to use sensors for multiple functions like measuring skins conductivity in order to determine stress level but technicians were faced with certain obstacles like the difficulty of measuring certain variables through dry or hairy skin.
If Apple would have succeeded in measuring glucose levels without needing to puncture skin (in order to determine blood sugar levels, you currently need to draw blood) it would have been a technological breakthrough.
Another difficulty Apple would have needed to face with such a high performance health monitor was if it could actually be regulated. The FDA declared in December 2013 that it wasn’t necessary to regulate a glucose monitor that helps users understand their nutrition. It would however need to intervene if the device was aimed for diabetics.
WSJ mentioned that Apple would probably have needed approval from FDA regulators to interpret data coming from blood pressure and blood oxygen sensors and give health advice so, for now, these features will not be available.
Image Source: iMedical Apps