Revealed this Wednesday, the new Apple Watch will be equipped with electrocardiogram (ECG) technology that can both monitor users’ heart rates but detect falls as well. The Apple Watch Series 4 prompts wearers with the option to notify emergency services after it detects a fall. This announcement was made today by Jeff Williams, Apple COO, at an Apple event in Cupertino.
“The Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health,” says WIlliams. The watch comes with two ECG apps that are both FDA approved and supported by the American Heart Association. These applications pick up on abnormalities in heart rhythms to detect potentially serious cardiovascular complications. The device is also capable of sensing sustained lack of motion in the user that helps indicate injury or a fall, with its accelerometer and gyroscope.
Apple began working with the FDA roughly two years ago on the cardiovascular project. The company has attained FDA clearance for an atrial fibrillation detection algorithm as well as the ECG described above. This new Apple Watch will integrate both these technologies and is set to go on sale September 21.
“Apple Watch can now screen your heart rhythm in the background and it sends you a notification if it detects an irregular rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation,” said Williams. “Now it won’t catch every instance of a-fib, but this is going to help a lot of people who didn’t realize they had an issue.”
With the new device, Apple Watch wearers will be able to open their health app on the device, place their finger on the touch screen for 30 seconds, and have their heart rate recorded. The watch also comes with a new face, as well as a one-touch contact section. Williams reports that the watch will also be 50 louder, assisting with functions such as walkie-talkie and Siri voice commands.
This latest advancement for Apple bolsters their healthcare initiative efforts that began in 2014 with the launch of their HealthKit and Health app coupled with iOS. Since the inception of these services, Apple has partnered with health institutes such as Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic via its ResearchKit platform to see through several clinical studies obtained with iOS data. Now, with the new Apple Watch, the company has added an FDA approved cardiovascular measurement tool to their arsenal of healthcare advancements.