Today at a special event at Apple’s headquarters, Apple’s COO Jeff Williams unveiled the next generation Apple Watch. It’s thinner, faster and has a larger screen than previous generations. But that’s to be expected.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is packed with several features that use the built-in heart monitor for medical purposes, CNBC reported.
The Apple Watch has always included a built-in heart rate monitor but it has been limited to basic, standard functions of tracking the wearer’s heart rate.
“The completely redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 continues to be an indispensable communication and fitness companion, and now with the addition of groundbreaking features, like fall detection and the first-ever ECG app offered directly to consumers, it also becomes an intelligent guardian for your health,” Apple COO Jeff Williams said on Wednesday.
The app will alert users of any abnormal cardiovascular activity or if their heart rate goes above or below certain thresholds.
Several companies and researchers have been using previous versions of the Apple Watch to detect AFib. The form factor and technical specs of the Apple Watch make it a great device for such a test. But until now, the ability to detect AFib has been limited to these tests. Apple will soon make it available to all wearers of the Apple Watch 4.
All the health data is encrypted on the device and in the cloud, Williams said. AFib detection and ECG will be available later this year in the U.S. The company will then roll them out to other countries around the world.
In a joint statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Jeff Shuren, the director of the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said that they had worked closely with Apple as the company developed the new feature.
“Health care products on ubiquitous [sic] devices, like smart watches, may help users seek treatment earlier and will truly empower them with more information about their health,” Gottlieb and Shuren said.
The device will be available in stores September 21.