Friday, December 8, 2023

Bloomberg: 2024 Apple Watch to Gain Blood Pressure Monitoring and Sleep Apnea Detection


Apple plans to add blood pressure monitoring and sleep apnea detection to an Apple Watch with an updated design in 2024, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

In a report covering the arc of Apple’s heath-related ambitions, Gurman outlines the first iteration of the company’s “pathbreaking” blood pressure sensor technology coming next year that will include hypertension detection:

The system is designed to just tell a user if their blood pressure is trending upward and to offer a journal for the user to jot down what was happening when hypertension occurred. To avoid potentially giving a misdiagnosis, the feature will then direct a user to talk to their doctor or check their blood pressure with a traditional cuff, which can provide exact systolic and diastolic measurements.

A future version of the system in development can provide exact numbers and even diagnose related conditions, according to Gurman. However, these enhancements “remain far off,” he adds.

Also coming in 2024 is an Apple Watch-based sleep apnea detection feature. According to the report, it will use sleep and breathing patterns to estimate whether someone has the condition, and then direct users to see a physician.

As previously reported, Apple is also working on non-invasive blood glucose monitoring. Apple’s system is said to use a silicon photonics chip to shine light from a laser under the skin to determine the concentration of glucose in the body.

The glucose monitoring has been designed in a similar way to the blood pressure system, in that it currently monitors how a person’s blood sugar is trending and warns users of pre-diabetes, rather than offer an actual blood sugar reading.

However, Apple’s blood glucose monitoring efforts remain unlikely to show up in a product for “at least a few years,” according to Gurman’s latest report, citing people with knowledge of the efforts.

Away from Apple Watch, Apple is also said to be on course to bring hearing aid detection to AirPods in 2024. Equipped with the new feature, AirPods will be able to function as an over-the-counter hearing aid and be able to perform the hearing tests typically administered in audiologists’ offices.

Elsewhere, Apple is said to be continuing to explore ways to make the upcoming Apple Vision Pro headset into a health device, as reported previously by The Information. Anti-anxiety and enhanced meditation features are being worked on, as well as a virtual-reality system to reinforce positive thinking and improve mental health.

Apple has also been studying using the sensors in the device to scan a wearer’s eyes for cognitive health data, while a headset version of Fitness+ “remains on the table,” according to Gurman.

The Bloomberg report additionally includes some interesting backstory on Apple’s evolving health and healthcare initiatives in recent years, as well as an update on the company’s paid health coaching service in development. You can read the full piece here.Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2Tags: Bloomberg, Health Technologies, Mark GurmanBuyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now), Apple Watch Ultra (Buy Now)Related Forum: Apple Watch
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