Location: United States
The new Apple Watch Series 6 has new fitness features, heart monitoring, and a blood oxygen sensor.
The Apple Watch, which was first released in 2015, has had many iterations bringing us to the recent release; The series 6. The device is arguably one of the best on the market, with its dependability and clean design, which is why Apple holds almost half of the smartwatch market in 2020.
Compared to last year’s model (the Apple Watch 5), the tech giant has added several new features and performance upgrades. They have included a blood oxygen meter, increased the screen brightness up to 2.5 times, and updated the altimeter.
The smartwatch is packed with a variety of useful, every-day features including Apple Pay, phone, messaging, maps, Siri, Apple Music, and the list goes on. Where it excels is the advanced health and fitness tech for tracking workouts and monitoring wellness. Apple packs it into one small wearable which would usually require multiple devices; electrocardiogram (ECG), blood oxygen meter, altimeter, sleep tracker, and more.
The health-conscious will be especially interested to know more about these features:
Fitness and sleep
The built-in GPS allows distance tracking with high accuracy and no need to be paired to an iPhone. The watch has a variety of workout types to choose from for more precise movement recording, including swimming, yoga, dance, and cycling. One of the highlights is the always-on altimeter that constantly records elevation changes for a better picture of the route covered throughout the day.
The new sleep app adds another dimension to monitoring health, with better tracking and trends. Sleep wearables are a growing market; the Oura Ring is a jewellery wearable with a focus on sleep.
Blood oxygen monitoring
The blood oxygen level is the amount of oxygen being carried by the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. Low blood oxygen can indicate a problem with the lungs, heart, or can be caused by high altitude.
For this new feature, the sensor projects light onto blood vessels using infrared LEDs, and it measures the reflected light. Artificial intelligence calculates the blood oxygen levels based on the data. Sounds simple, right?
An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the electrical signals within the heart that regulate how the heart is beating. Usually, an ECG requires a trip to the clinic to be hooked up to 12 leads; this can be useful when more detailed information is needed. However, it can be inconvenient and costly for some people. Also, it only provides a snapshot of electrical activity in the heart at that time.
The Apple Watch 6’s ECG allows users to record a single-lead heart trace at any time, making it easily accessible when someone may have symptoms of their heartbeat feeling more noticeable. This can involve it feeling irregular, pounding, or fluttering. The ECG app analyses the rhythm and lets the wearer know if it is irregular – Specifically, a condition called atrial fibrillation.
“The Series 6 is a well-designed and innovative wearable, the key hardware addition this year being the ability to offer oxygen level monitoring. The monitoring of oxygen levels and the ECG feature are a great feature, but something many users won’t use or need daily. Other wearables also offer oxygen level monitoring; it will be interesting to see how they evolve and how the clinical applications grow. The ongoing focus on improving health and wellbeing, including sleep, is fantastic. If such devices encourage users to be more active than the preventative health benefits are very well known.” – Dr Vinay Shankar