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Future Apple Watch models may feature Touch ID and measure blood oxygen levels

Published Mar 27th, 2020 2:20PM EDT
Apple Watch
Image: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

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  • Apple is reportedly working on an Apple Watch with Touch ID support. The feature may not arrive this year, but may be included on the Apple Watch Series 7 in 2021.
  • Building on the Apple Watch’s suite of medically-oriented features, the next-gen Apple Watch could very well include the ability to measure oxygen levels in the blood.
  • The Apple Watch Series 6, which will likely arrive later this year, will likely include improved battery life, broader support for LTE and Wi-Fi 6, and enhanced Siri functionality.
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With so many rumors surrounding the iPhone 12 swirling about, it’s easy to forget that we might see some big changes to the Apple Watch this year. And with the Apple Watch Series 5 being something of an incremental upgrade at best, it stands to reason that the next-gen Apple Watch will include some more notable features and improvements.

In light of this, The Verifier — which has a decent record when it comes to Apple rumors — is out with a new report which claims that future Apple Watch models will incorporate a slew of intriguing improvements. The next-gen Apple Watch Series 6, for example, will reportedly include much-improved battery life along with broader support for LTE and Wi-Fi 6. The report adds that the next Apple Watch will also include enhanced Siri functionality, improved sleep monitoring, and perhaps, the ability to measure oxygen levels in the blood.

If the latter rumor sounds familiar, it’s because recent code unearthed in iOS suggests that Apple is indeed working on such a feature. And while the implementation remains to be seen, reports suggest that the Apple Watch will alert users when their blood oxygen saturation falls below a certain threshold.

The most intriguing rumor in the report, however, centers on the Apple Watch Series 7. Specifically, Apple has plans to add Touch ID to the side button of the Apple Watch for additional biometric security. This should prove to be especially useful given the extent of personal information typically stored on the device.

It should also make unlocking the Apple Watch — which can currently be achieved via entering a PIN or unlocking a paired iPhone — that much simpler. Incidentally, it’s worth noting that Apple actually filed a patent for an Apple Watch with Touch ID support back in November of 2018.

All told, Apple adding Touch ID to the Apple Watch would make sense given that Apple has continued to roll out the feature across its MacBook line. What remains to be seen, however, is how the coronavirus will impact the Apple Watch Series 6 release date. Recall, we’ve seen reports that Apple’s iPhone 12 release might be pushed back by a few months. If that is, in fact, the case, it’s entirely plausible Apple may delay the release of its next-gen Apple Watch as well.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.