This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 6 (tentative) will have the long-rumored ability to measure blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), according to a supply chain source.
According to a report from DigiTimes, a Taiwanese industry media, the Apple Watch Series 6 will have a "biometric sensor capable of monitoring sleep, detecting blood oxygen, and measuring pulse, heart rate, and atrial fibrillation". Other sources have reportedly said that the watch will have a MEMS (a device that incorporates tiny electronic circuits and mechanical element components and sensors on a single substrate) based accelerometer and gyroscope.
The source also said that the next generation Apple Watch is being developed "smoothly" in close cooperation with Taiwan's ASE Technology, which has been rumored to be a partner in adding health monitoring capabilities to future AirPods.
SpO2 in this context is a measure of how much oxygen is in the blood. Generally speaking, a level of 95-100% is considered healthy, while a level below 80% may impair heart and brain function, and a persistently low level puts a person at risk of respiratory or cardiopulmonary arrest. Incidentally, the ability to measure SpO2 variability has already been implemented in other companies' products, such as FitBit.
It was speculated from the initial code of iOS 14 in March of this year that the Apple Watch could have the ability to measure SpO2 in the future. However, it wasn't clear if it would be available on the Series 5 and earlier models, or if it would be limited to the newer Series 6. The hardware required for SpO2 (which can be accomplished with a heart rate monitor) has been in place since the original Apple Watch, and it had been suggested that it could be used in existing models, as long as the software was available.
However, when Apple announced the next watchOS 7 at WWDC 20 in June, it didn't mention the SpO2 measurement feature. That's why it's a feature that requires dedicated hardware and is now likely to wait for the Apple Watch Series 6. (If it's possible with existing models, it should be announced.)
Some believe that the SpO2 measurement feature is related to mental health management features such as panic attack detection. The new Apple Watch is usually announced at the same time as the latest iPhone models, but like this year's iPhone 12 (tentative) series, the Series 6 may be released a few weeks later than usual.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.