Rumors repeatedly suggest Apple has bigger and better plans for the Apple Watch, especially when it comes to measuring your health.
A new patent hints that Apple may be developing technology that lets the Apple Watch or a similar wrist-worn device measure blood pressure.
The Apple Watch has already been used to measure blood pressure, but those apps require a blood pressure cuff. The cuff fits around an arm or wrist and communicates via Bluetooth to the watch app. This method works, but it takes several steps and, quite frankly, is cumbersome to use. As a result, people are not very likely to take their blood pressure.
Apple’s solution, titled “Pressure measurement designs,” would measure blood pressure using sensors embedded directly into the Apple Watch. The hardware and the accompanying Apple Watch software would measure blood pressure and analyze the data coming from the watch.
Users would not need to wear a cuff or buy any additional hardware to take this vital health metric.
Apple could monitor changes in blood pressure, looking for signs of hypertension (elevated blood pressure), which can cause severe health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. It also could combine heart rate with blood pressure to offer a more comprehensive look at a person’s cardiovascular health.
“Measuring pressure may be useful in monitoring one or more user parameters,” writes Apple in the patent. “For example, blood pressure measurements may be a helpful user parameter to measure as elevated blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension) may be an indicator for potential health issues.”Apple
Because a person’s blood pressure can be measured directly from the Apple Watch, it increases the likelihood people will measure their blood pressure regularly.
Apple possibly could even measure blood pressure in the background as it does with heart rate. This data then can be analyzed by Apple Health or shared with a person’s physician.