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New Apple Watch features coming in watchOS 9 just leaked

Published Apr 12th, 2022 4:28PM EDT

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While Apple Watch improvements over the past few years have largely been incremental, Apple has some big plans in store for its popular wearable. According to a report from Bloomberg, the Apple Watch feature set will likely expand in a major way sooner rather than later. And while some of Apple’s planned features may not arrive until 2024, the report should alleviate any lingering concerns that the company’s Apple Watch team was running out of ideas.

Apple Watch health features

One of the more interesting things about the Apple Watch is how it evolved. Early on, the device was positioned as something of a lifestyle device, a luxury item with some nifty communication features. But before long, it became abundantly clear that physical activity and health monitoring were driving sales.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen dozens of stories involving people who credit the Apple Watch with saving their lives. Whether it’s detecting an abnormal heart rhythm or detecting a fall, the Apple Watch for some people is quite literally the difference between life and death.

In light of that, Apple has been angling to expand the range of Apple Watch health features. To this end, Bloomberg writes that Apple has been working on a high blood pressure sensor. The feature has reportedly been in the works for years but is still experiencing some technical hurdles. As it stands now, don’t expect a high blood pressure sensor to become an Apple Watch feature until 2024 at the absolute earliest.

The iPhone maker is running trials of its blood-pressure technology on employees. Its planned approach won’t tell users their specific systolic and diastolic readings — the numbers used to assess blood pressure — but would warn those wearing the watch that they may have hypertension, which is high-blood pressure, and should consult a doctor or use a standard blood pressure checker.

Incidentally, there have also been reports pointing to an Apple Watch feature capable of monitoring glucose levels. This rumor has been around for years. And while Apple has certainly researched the idea, the technical challenges involved with this type of sensor are beyond immense.

Other features on the horizon

We can also expect to see some more modest additions to the Apple Watch feature set this year. Some of these new features might include temperature monitoring along with updates to existing workouts, “women’s health, sleep, fitness, and medication management features.”

Other features that might be part of watchOS 9 include expanded watch face options and a revamped low-power mode.

New Apple Watch models

Interestingly, we might see three Apple Watch models this year. Aside from the standard model and the Apple Watch SE, we might see a new device geared for heavy outdoor use. Reports surrounding a rugged Apple Watch model have been around for a few years now. This rumored Apple Watch will reportedly have a more resilient casing. This will make it less prone to scratches and dents. Additionally, it will likely boast improved impact resistance and more robust water resistance.

Naturally, the rugged Apple Watch will be positioned for athletes who typically exercise in extreme weather environments.

More Apple Watch coverage: For more Apple Watch news, visit our Apple Watch Series 8 guide.

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.