In a patent filing recently won by Apple, it gives the company a huge leg up in health tracking with built-in blood pressure monitoring.
The patent, which was originally filed in 2015, looks to use pressure sensors to get tonometric, or tension, readings from a user's wrist to give a blood pressure readout. It's similar to the Tonopen's ophthalmologists use when checking eye pressure.
The patent also states that readings from pressure sensors would be adjusted using one or more "correction factors," such as "wrist circumference, target artery depth, and/or tissue density or hydration."
Per images found by Patently Apple, it demonstrates how the technology would work.
The patent filing shows sensors in the band itself, with an actuator, ultrasound transducer and a "plurality of sensors" underneath the wrist .
A big potential win for Apple Watch 7
This is a major win for Apple, as it continues to dominate the smartwatch space. The Cupertino-based company currently has the largest share of the smartwatch market at 36.3%. It's actually a 13% decline from 2019 thanks to increased competition from Huawei and Samsung.
Apple isn't the first company to pursue blood pressure monitoring on a watch. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 has blood pressure monitoring that needs to be calibrated alongside an actual blood pressure monitor. But because of a lack of approval from the FDA, the feature is inactive in the United States.
Per a demonstration from YouTuber TechProz, he finds that the Galaxy Watch 3 is relatively accurate, but recommends it should only be used as a reference, and to not take medication solely on its readings.
If the Apple Watch Series 7 does include blood pressure monitoring, along with the current blood oxygen monitoring found in the Series 6, it would make the upcoming device greatly more advanced than its Android Wear counterparts. And with Google all but abandoning Android Wear -- with the company removing weight training tracking and releasing YouTube Music on Apple Watch over Wear -- it will continue to give Apple an outsized presence.
Do note that companies file patents all the time. And just because Apple has won a particular patent doesn't mean it would lead to a quick public release. Apple could still face other testing or regulatory hurdles before a technology like this ever makes it to your local Best Buy.
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Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.