Bloomberg: What’s not in this year’s Apple Watch

No body temperature sensor, no blood sugar sensor, no rugged extreme sports edition, say Mark Gurman and Debby Wu. 

From “Apple Plans Faster Watch, Future Temperature and Glucose Sensors” posted Monday:

Apple had previously aimed to put a body temperature sensor in this year’s model, but that is now more likely to be included in the 2022 update. The blood-sugar sensor, which would help diabetics monitor their glucose levels, is unlikely to be ready for commercial launch for several more years…

The extreme sports model, described by some inside Apple as either an “explorer” or “adventure” edition, was in development for release as early as this year, but it is now more likely to launch in 2022. That new model would help Apple compete with rugged offerings from players like Garmin Ltd. and Casio Computer Co.

My take: Why tell us now about stuff we won’t see for years? Also, what’s the difference between a body temperature sensor and a thermometer?

7 Comments

  1. Bart Yee said:
    PED said “Also, what’s the difference between a body temperature sensor and a thermometer?”

    A Watch wrist-worn body temperature sensor is likely aimed solely at internal blood vessel flow and sensing its instant or average temp, giving a relative temperature to the more important trunk/central body core temperature. The extremities can and do tolerate lower temps when the body needs to conserve heat. But in general terms, assuming normal activity, clothing, and environmental conditions, the wrist blood flow temps can correlate with central core temps. Plus the trend in temperature is more important over time than instantaneous readings.

    A thermometer generally reads an ambient temperature of its surroundings and depends on what it is exposed to – here we may see the Watch Weather complication gives readings reported to it by locale and local weather sources. If the Watch was to measure the local ambient (air) temperature, it could be heavily influenced by sunlight, being covered or uncovered by clothing, motion, or other factors. So the utility of a general “thermometer” in a watch compared to a body focused thermal sensor depends on exactly what and how you’re trying to measure.

    2
    June 14, 2021
  2. Bart Yee said:
    A report earlier this year from ETNews, a Korean based tech site discussed relevant blood glucose non-invasive measuring techniques that may be used by Samsung and Apple among others. The report rightly points out that country-specific (re: slow) approval by health ministries is sought after and important in getting these sensor techniques to market and onto consumers’ wrists. My sense if the sensors themselves are being developed and validated, then, like vaccines, have to be tested, vetted, and ultimately approved by the relevant governmental authorities (some of which are subject to lobbying by competing firms, natch!) Software to record, analyze, organize, store, and transmit (with privacy in mind) must also be developed, I give Apple and the medical app community the edge for this once its introduced and known.

    https://english.etnews.com/20210125200002

    3
    June 14, 2021
    • John Konopka said:
      That’s rather amazing. Raman spectrometers usually are quite large and expensive ( tens of thousands of dollars). Putting a quantitative Raman spectrometer in a watch selling for a few hundred dollars would be quite a trick.

      In Raman spectroscopy, an short, bright laser pulse agitates molecules to vibrate and thereby emit an infrared signal. Kind of like striking a gong. Normally this signal is very weak and short lived.

      OK, I just read a paper about this from a few years ago. As expected, this is really hard, but the authors think it will be a solvable problem. As you might expect, there are all sorts of problems with variations between individual people, plus you are sampling near the skin surface, not inside blood vessels, plus tissue and blood are full of other things that generate signals.

      A lot of matrix computation is required to get a result. Maybe they could get the spectra from the Watch and send them to an iPhone for computation.

      Just my opinion, I could see this being an option that would cost a lot more than just a standard Watch. It may require training and individual calibration.

      Full Disclosure, the company I work for makes and sells Raman spectrometers, but I am not involved in that division.

      3
      June 14, 2021
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    All those things aren’t in the Apple Watch because they’re not ready. Nuff said.

    3
    June 14, 2021
  4. Rick Povich said:
    I had a Casio ProTrek watch that had a compass, barometer and thermometer. The ProTrek thermometer, as Bart Yee mentioned, measured ambient temperature. To get a really accurate reading, though, I’d need to take off the watch until the watch itself got to ambient temperature to get an acccurate reading. Otherwise my body temperature skewed the reading

    1
    June 14, 2021
  5. Dan Scropos said:
    Other things not in this year’s Apple Watch:

    -Competition
    -Poor sales
    -Fragmentation

    6
    June 14, 2021
  6. “according to people with knowledge of the plans.” This is the sole mention of Bloomberg’s source. Why not cite Bob Dylan’s “the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind…?” That’s the source Gurman and Wu seem to be using. Their editor is OK with wind as a trusted source too.
    Are we to assume someone at Luxshare, Hon Hai or Compal decided to risk their occupation to answer a Bloomberg reporter’s question? I seriously doubt any team member in Cupertino tipped over a jar of beans.

    0
    June 15, 2021

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