Apple is having issues with the new health-related features for Apple Watch Series 10 (or is it SeriesX?)

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The next iteration of the Apple Watch is expected to be unveiled this September, but whether it is celebrated as the tenth-anniversary model is up to the tech giant. In other words, Apple will decide whether it is merely the Apple Watch Series 10, or the Apple Watch Series X. Because the device was unveiled in 2014 but was not released until 2015, Apple could make a big deal about this year’s model, or decide to celebrate next year’s watches.
Considering that there are some design changes coming to the 2024 line, it would seem that Apple might have decided to hold the party this year. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that Apple is having issues with the two new health-related features that had been rumored for this year’s Apple Watch line. It had been hoped that the next Apple Watch would be able to warn users when their blood pressure got too high, a condition known as “hypertension.”

Keep in mind that Apple was not planning on giving the Apple Watch the ability to deliver individual blood pressure readings showing systolic and diastolic pressure. Instead, the watch would measure your baseline and alert you if your blood pressure is above that reading. If it is, you can get a reading from your dedicated blood pressure machine or find a nearby pharmacy with one of those sit-down modules with a cuff so you can get an actual reading. Gurman notes that there have been problems with the feature not working with the new Series 10 design which includes a display almost as large as the Apple Watch Ultra, and a thinner case.

The other health-related feature that Apple was planning to include with the Apple Watch Series 10 is a sensor to monitor for sleep apnea. This is a dangerous condition that stops and starts your breathing while sleeping. Most people with this problem wear a Continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) that forces oxygen into their airways. 

The sleep apnea monitor requires the watch to track the user’s blood saturation level which is what the pulse oximeter does. The latter measures the saturation of oxygen carried by red blood cells. And wouldn’t you know, that’s the health-related tool that has been banned from certain Apple Watches after Masimo successfully claimed in court that Apple infringed on its patents. The ban applies to Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models in the U.S. Apple could decide to license the patent, find a way to work around the patent, unveil the feature but delay its launch, or just forget about it for now.

Gurman also mentions what we’ve called the Holy Grail for smartwatch manufacturers, a non-invasive blood glucose monitor. Apple has just hit some milestones with its research, Gurman notes. He also says that the company is working on using rigid plastic to replace the aluminum on the lower-cost Apple Watch SE model. This would be an attempt to reduce or eliminate the $50 pricing gap between the Apple Watch SE and the Samsung Galaxy Watch FE. The latter is priced at $199.


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