The next installment in Apple’s Watch series – the Apple Watch 6 – will apparently feature a SpO2 sensor for measuring bloody oxygen levels…
Not so long ago we reported on the possibility of future Apple Watch devices measuring blood pressure. Apple has a couple of patents for doing this, one of which dates back to 2018. To date, nothing has come to market just yet – but that could change in 2022 and beyond.
One of the coolest new rumors about Apple’s Watch Series 6 is that it will feature a SpO2 sensor. What the hell is that? A SpO2 sensor can accurately measure oxygen levels in your blood. And given the current global climate right now, Apple couldn’t have timed it better.
Apple Watch with An SpO2 Sensor
News of the SpO2 sensor for Apple Watch was leaked by John Prosser, the source of pretty much every single Apple headline in 2020, on the Geared Up podcast. According to Prosser, the SpO2 sensor will likely come aboard the next Apple Watch update, meaning the Apple Watch Series 6.
How would the Apple Watch’s SpO2 sensor work? Here’s an explanation from Prosser:
“[The Apple Watch’s SpO2 sensor can] take the oxygen levels in your blood with your heart rate and determine if you’re hyper-ventilating. They can identify a panic attack before it happens, and warn you on your Watch. Especially if you’re driving, they’ll ask you to pull over and they’ll offer you breathing exercises when you’ve pulled over. It’s incredible, the focus on mental health that they’re taking.”
A Life-Changing Update
Out of all the updates Apple has brought to the table over the years, the inclusion of a SpO2 sensor feels like one of the most meaningful to hit the device since it first landed. Having the ability to predict a panic attack before it happens, for instance, will help people with mental health issues better manage their conditions and understand and isolate specific triggers.
Other wearables on the market do feature SPO2; you can get FitBit wearables with SPO2 sensors. How Apple improves on things, however, is where things will likely get more interesting.
WatchOS is one of the most robust wearable operating systems, it links seamlessly with iOS and, by proxy, iPhone, and iPad. It is this connectivity, plus Apple’s command of software and analyzing data, that will separate the new Apple Watch from other wearables.
If Apple can nail both blood pressure measuring and bring an SPO2 sensor to future Apple Watch releases, it will have created the most exciting and useful wearable platform on the planet. The health and mental health-focus of the vision, combined with how it all fits together with Apple’s wider ecosystem, will only serve to further cement the Apple Watch as the only wearable worth bothering with between now and 2022.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.