Report: Apple Working on an Apple Watch with Built-In EKG Heart Monitor
Future versions of the Apple Watch may contain an advanced form of heart-monitoring technology that would use electric signals to detect heart abnormalities, defects, and other potential indicators of cardiovascular illness, according to a report from Bloomberg. Unlike the heart rate monitor in the current Apple Watch, EKG (electrocardiogram) is used by the medical industry and found inside chest-based heart rate monitor straps.
Apple Watch currently works with an FDA-approved EKG reader in the form of a smart band (seen above) that is sold separately and requires an annual subscription to work. EKG is also able to quickly identify abnormal heart rhythms like atrial fibrillation, which can make it easier to spot potential cardiac problems earlier.
Bloomberg says development is ongoing on the EKG functionality for the Apple Watch, and Apple could still decide to scrap it. With the first Apple Watch, Apple reportedly dropped several sensors because they weren’t accurate enough.
When it was first released in 2015, the Apple Watch was largely marketed as a high-end fashion piece. As the second and third generations went on sale, the focus shifted to health and fitness, with Apple adding alerts for abnormal heart rate spikes.
Late last month, Apple launched a new study in partnership with Stanford University, one of many studies the company has embarked on since the device’s 2015 launch, that will track Apple Watch users’ heart rhythms for irregularity.
Sources tell Bloomberg that the EKG monitor is still in development, so it may be best not to expect this in Apple Watch Series 4.