I recently told you the new Siri health features might make me upgrade my Apple Watch. My current wearable lacks the hardware to support Apple’s new on-device Siri commands. But I can use the iPhone for the same thing, so an Apple Watch upgrade isn’t necessary.
Now, if this new report is accurate, the Apple Watch Series 10 will feature at least three new exciting features. One of them will make the new model a must-buy for this Apple Watch user, and that’s support for blood pressure readings.
I use the Apple Watch to track my health and fitness. That’s pretty much it. I don’t need anything else from it beyond recording as much health information as it can. That data collection might seem excessive at times, but I believe the more health data I can get about myself, the easier it will be for physicians to treat my future conditions.
That’s why I’m dying to see two big upgrades from the Apple Watch: support for blood pressure monitoring and blood glucose monitoring. The latter is trickier to get, and we might need to wait a few more years for it. But the former might be here next year, according to Mark Gurman’s new Power On newsletter.
I do not currently have reasons to worry about high blood pressure or diabetes. But I’m also not ignoring these health risks. The Apple Watch might help me catch the onset of both of these conditions in the very early stages.
Apple Watch Series 10’s new features
According to Gurman, Apple is planning at least three big changes for the Apple Watch Series 10 coming next year. One of them concerns the design. The report notes that at least one 2024 Apple Watch model will feature a new look. It’s unclear what that design change might amount to.
The other two concern health tracking. The next-gen Apple Watch models will be able to take blood pressure readings and detect sleep apnea. The latter is also a great addition to the list of health readings the Apple Watch can perform. Sleep apnea can be a serious issue that would need proper treatment.
But for me, the addition of hypertension detection to the Apple Watch would be a game changer. Gurman believes the feature would help Apple sell more units than this year’s lineup.
“The upcoming health features should have real marketing power. Imagine when Apple is able to make an ad touting how it invented the ability to take a blood pressure reading from the wrist,” Gurman writes.” I think that’s going to sell a lot of devices.”
Yes, “invented” in the quote above links to a Samsung help page for setting up the Galaxy Watch’s blood pressure sensor. Yes, someone did it before Apple. Given the nature of my job, I’ve always been aware of it.
However, the Galaxy Watch doesn’t fit well with the ecosystem of devices I chose for myself. And since I don’t have to deal with high blood pressure yet, there’s never been a need to consider changing the Apple Watch with a competing device that can detect hypertension.
Will blood pressure readings need a new sensor?
Once the Apple Watch arrives, I’ll want those blood pressure sensors on my wrist. Gurman doesn’t say which models will get the new health features. But I think at least one of them will be exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 10 versions and the Apple Watch Ultra 3 (if there even is one next year). That’s blood pressure sensing, of course.
Unless I’m wrong, and Apple will actually use some of the existing sensors of the Apple Watch combined with a new algorithm to deliver blood pressure readings.
In such a case, Apple could still restrict blood pressure sensing to certain Apple Watch models, say devices that feature at least an S9 or better chip. The Apple Watch Series 10 and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 would be the only ones that would qualify. The assumption here is that Apple won’t necessarily update the Ultra next year.
As for sleep apnea, current Apple Watches can already measure your breathing while you sleep. Apnea is the absence of breathing, so maybe all Apple needs is an algorithm.
Again, there’s a lot of speculation here. But what I’m certain is that my Apple Watch SE 2 won’t get blood pressure readings via a software update. Therefore, I’ll certainly want to upgrade to a 2024 Apple Watch model if the blood pressure feature is indeed coming.