While Apple typically announces major products in September of every year, features that are making it to the devices end up leaking to the public through the way of internal sources divulging information to publications or through feature mentions found in the OS code. Internal code snippets of iOS 14, accessed by 9to5Mac show that the Apple Watch could be receiving the ability to detect blood-oxygen levels.
Many types of heart rate sensors are capable of detecting blood oxygen saturation (SpO2). The Cupertino giant added an electrical heart rate sensor to the Apple Watch Series 4 that brought with it the electrocardiogram feature. It is not clear if the blood oxygen calculation is aimed at devices after the Series 4 owing to the hardware capabilities or if it will leverage any new hardware with the next-generation Watch.
The company is expected to add health notifications based on the SpO2 readings. Consistently low readings may indicate the risk of cardiac arrests and timely notifications can prove to be lifesaving. The ability to calculate blood oxygen levels has been present in other devices such as Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phones till the Galaxy S10 and competitor wearable devices from Fitbit. The inclusion of this feature is a welcome addition, especially since the Apple Watch touts useful health features such as fall detection and the like.
In addition to the ability to measure blood oxygen saturation, the firm is reportedly also working to improve the ECG feature by eliminating the erroneous readings that the sensor records when the heart rate ranges between 100 and 120 beats per minute. This change should improve ECG readings and notifications for those using Series 4 and Series 5 devices.
It will be interesting to see if all these features indeed make it to the devices, considering that not all feature mentions spotted in internal code make it to production. Apple was also said to be working to bring sleep tracking to the Apple Watch. Only time will tell as to if that feature too would make it to the devices.