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The next Apple Watch will reportedly add 3 new health sensors for diabetes, blood pressure, and sleep apnea

Apple continues exploring the potential of health monitoring tools.
The next Apple Watch will reportedly add 3 new health sensors for diabetes, blood pressure, and sleep apnea Credit: Ming Yeung / Getty Images

The ever-evolving Apple Watch is rumored to be getting even more health monitoring features in 2024, with reports that the devices will expand to three additional sensors that can warn users if they are prediabetic, sense rising blood pressure, and alert someone if they may have sleep apnea.

The portable devices, Apple's tentpole health and fitness offering, have undergone similar health-centered upgrades in recent years, including the addition of fertility tracking tools and a body temperature sensor in 2022. Earlier this year, the company was rumored to be working on an AI-powered health coach capable of designing custom health plans based on biometric and behavioral data gathered by the watch — an indication that Apple is looking to further its reach in the billion-dollar healthcare industry.

Rumored reports of Apple's next health sensor offerings suggest future watch expansion will continue operating as non-treatment, non-diagnostic tools, with the potential for future expansion into post-diagnosis care.

The device's rumored blood glucose monitoring system will warn Apple Watch users if they are prediabetic using a noninvasive light shined through the skin that measures blood glucose levels. The device won't offer actual blood sugar readings to users already diagnosed with diabetes.

The blood pressure sensor will be able to detect when a wearer's blood pressure is elevated, accompanied by a "blood pressure journal" (similar to Apple's other personal tracking offerings) to help track external factors leading to hypertension. It won't be able to show a user their exact systolic and diastolic measurements for treatment purposes.

A new sleep apnea sensor will measure breathing patterns during sleep to estimate if a user has the condition, as well as suggestions when they should see a physician, building on the watches current sleep tracking tools.

The new Apple Watch features may debut alongside the launch of the (rumored) subscription-based and AI-powered health service, according to an exclusive Bloomberg report on the company's healthcare plans. But Apple's larger goal to "revolutionize healthcare" is still a future ambition, according to insiders. The new features, not yet confirmed by Apple, are reportedly still in development under Apple’s Exploratory Design Group. "What we’re not interested in is post-sick health care,” a person involved in the project told Bloomberg, a suggestion that the company is worried about regulatory complications and the possibility of misdiagnosis.

Apple's foray into healthcare is part of a wider company strategy to move users away from single-use device ecosystems and towards a one-stop shop model of health technology, but previous expansions of the Apple Watch have prompted multi-factored concern, including the fear of data bias and possible privacy issues.

Meanwhile, high healthcare costs and treatment inaccessibility have pushed many to seek more affordable options for monitoring their health and accessing physician care. Apple hopes its products, and limited-use health tools like those rumored to release next year, help bridge the gap.

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