The Apple Watch is the smartwatch to beat, with every player in the industry trying to come up with better alternatives. Many wearables look like an Apple Watch from a distance, but they’re not quite as complex. Apple keeps innovating its wearable, adding exciting new features year after year. The health monitoring features are especially impressive. The Apple Watch saves lives with features that can alert the user or others when things go wrong.
It’s still unclear what the Apple Watch Series 7 will bring in terms of new health functionality. But the Apple Watch of my dreams isn’t coming this year if the current rumors are accurate. That said, a brand new Apple job ad might foreshadow exciting health features for future Apple Watch generations.
The Apple Watch of my dreams
I don’t want a new design for the Apple Watch or a bigger screen. I don’t need to run (many) apps on it, and I do not want it to replace the iPhone. In fact, the Apple Watch SE is the best possible Apple wearable for most people. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles on the Apple Watch Series 6, but it strikes the perfect balance between functionality and price.
I do want to see two things on the Apple Watch going forward, but I’d very much settle on just getting one of them as soon as possible. Multi-day battery life is something other people say, but there’s no real issue with having to charge the device every single day. The feature I really want is passive blood sugar monitoring.
This year, reports said that Apple might have wanted to add the feature to the Apple Watch 7. But that won’t be the case, however. We’ll have to wait at least one more year to get it.
The ‘boring’ Apple job ad
Apple posted last week a new job ad that MyHealthyApple discovered. Apple is looking for an experienced engineer for a Regulatory Project Manager position. That might not sound too exciting at first. But from the first sentence, it’s clear the job revolves around Apple’s health devices
Our ever-evolving suite of Heath and Wellness products for iPhone and [Apple] Watch are helping our users live more active, healthier lives.
Even more exciting are these two key qualifications. The Apple Watch isn’t mentioned here. The important detail is FDA Class II medical devices:
- You have worked with a digital health product or medical device Class II with a strong software element to the product.
- Solid understanding of regulatory submission requirements for FDA Class II medical devices in both the US and internationally.
What is a Class II medical device?
MyHealthyApple explains that Class II medical devices are those gadgets that have moderate to high risk to the patient or the user. Some 43% of medical devices fall under this category. Even software as a medical device (SaMD) is now considered a Class II product.
The blog explains that companies that collect data from minimally invasive glucose sensors are not currently required to pursue FDA proceedings. Levels and Veristable are two such examples. But Class II devices require Premarket Notification 510(k). The blog says that Dexcom’s G6 continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) is a Class II device.
There’s no indication that a future Apple Watch will indeed support blood glucose readings just because Apple is seeking experts with FDA regulatory processes. But it’s still another step towards bringing a glucose sensor to the Watch.
Why glucose monitoring is so important for the Apple Watch
Hundreds of millions of people have diabetes around the world. Treatment solutions involve frequent blood sugar readings. Patients must maintain glucose levels within certain levels. But measuring blood glucose involves using a needle to draw blood. A special device can then read the sample.
The invasive process can be quite annoying to perform, and some people take fewer readings than they’re supposed to. This can lead to unwanted side effects.
Having the Apple Watch read blood glucose levels passively through the skin would be a major win for Apple. This is the kind of functionality that would make the gadget a must-buy for many people.
Even if you do not have diabetes, an Apple Watch with a glucose sensor would be useful. It could warn you when blood sugar is too low during the day. Also, it might provide early warnings about diabetes onset.
That’s why, with all that in mind, a device would also have to offer extremely accurate readings when it comes to blood sugar. And it might have to pass Class II regulatory hurdles.