Trade Resources Industry Views Apple Watch to Have More Health-Tracking Functionality

Apple Watch to Have More Health-Tracking Functionality

Apple Watch Could Have Scaled Back Health Tracking Features

The Apple Watch could launch within a month or so, according to the most recent batch of rumors and indications from the company itself.

While the device is expected to have more health-tracking functionality than any iDevice before it, that functionality is likely to be unimpressive according to the Wall Street Journal. That paper suggested that, while the Cuptertino, CA–based tech giant originally envisioned the Apple Watch as a next-gen health-tracker, the device will offer fairly prosaic fitness monitoring capabilities by 2015 standards: heart rate and activity levels. As Gizmodo puts it, the Apple Watch “will track health and fitness about as well as anything else.” Gone are its plans to incorporate health metrics such as blood pressure, heart activity, and stress levels in a consumer-facing device, the Journal says.

The likely reason for the backpedalling is multifaceted, including unwanted regulatory oversight and the inability to make those features work reliably.

The move is reminiscent of last year’s press announcement of HealthKit, an app that would be bundled into iOS 8. While the company excitedly promoted HealthKit last year, it stumbled out of the gate and wasn’t even available in the initial launch of the operating system. iOS8 adoption rates themselves have lagged until recently, and are now hitting about 75%.

On the upside, the Apple Watch will be compatible with a forthcoming Dexcome continuous glucose monitor app.

Health-related applications were an original focus for the Apple Watch when the company first set out to make the device four years ago. But the health-tracking technology it had envisioned didn’t live up to its standards, according to the Journal.

Attempts to measure skin conductance were unreliable in people with hairy arms or dry skin. The company also attempted to measure blood pressure with the device, but such functionality would likely require regulatory approval.

It’s worth noting that a rival wearables company, Jawbone, plans to launch the UP3 soon, which monitors respiration rate, heart rate, stress levels, and fatigue.

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Apple Watch Could Have Scaled Back Health Tracking Features