The health monitoring features on the Apple Watch have kept users alive since the watch was first released in April 2015. The heart rate monitor is possibly the most famous of the watch’s life saving tools, and we have written quite a few stories about it over the years People whose lives were saved by the Apple Watch. Another tool on the Apple Watch to save lives is the electrocardiogram (EKG), which was introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018.
The Apple Watch could be tracking your blood sugar as early as next year
The EKG is used to detect an irregular heart rhythm that gives an early warning of atrial fibrillation (AFib). The latter can lead to strokes, blood clots, heart failure and other serious illnesses. And last year, the Apple Watch Series 6 added a blood oxygen meter that monitors the percentage of oxygen carried by your red blood cells.
Knowing what percentage of oxygen your red blood cells in the rest of your body are carrying out of your lungs can give you a general idea of your health and even be warned of COVID-19. A normal reading would be a range between 95% and 100%. Another useful function of the watch warns preselected contacts if you have fallen and cannot get up.
Over the years there has been talk of adding a feature to the Apple Watch that will measure a user’s blood sugar. This is very important for insulin dependent diabetics who need to have their blood sugar measured before each insulin injection, as the amount of sugar in their blood determines the dosage of each shot. Currently, for each test, a diabetic must draw blood and dab it on an expensive test strip, which is then inserted into a glucometer for a reading.
As I said, the process is painful and costly. If Apple can allow the Apple Watch to provide blood glucose readings without the user having to draw blood and buy new test strips, Apple Watch sales could hit a new plateau. And today, The Telegraph reports from the UK that an SEC filing suggests Apple will add glucometer to the Apple Watch in 2022.
The newspaper says that Apple was named the largest customer for a company called Rockley Photonics. It turns out that Rockley has developed next-generation sensors that are expected to be installed in devices over the next year. Its sensors can read certain signals from a person’s blood by shining infrared light through the skin from the back of a smartwatch.
Apple’s relationship with Rockley went public after Rockley filed documents in New York to prepare for the sale of shares to investors. The company has offices in Oxford, Wales and Silicon Valley. The documents say that Apple has made most of its revenue in the past two years. A “supply and development agreement” between the two companies means that Apple will continue to be the source of most of Rockley’s revenue.
Rockley CEO Andrew Rickman said he expected his company’s technology will be in consumer products for the next year but wouldn’t say if an Apple device will be involved. In addition to measuring glucose levels, Apple could try adding more sensors for the Apple Watch that monitor a user’s alcohol levels and blood pressure. Offering Apple Watch users an accurate sensor that measures glucose levels would surely be a feather in Apple’s cap.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has often mentioned the importance of health surveillance to Apple’s future. The Apple Watch is a great example of how the company is trying to integrate its hardware and software in a way that keeps health tracked.