The Apple Watch 7's standout health upgrade could be one we didn't see coming. Well, at least not recently.
Buried in a supply chain report detailing Apple Watch 7 release date and production woes, sources speaking to Nikkei Asia (opens in new tab) said the next Apple Watch will offer blood pressure monitoring. Not blood glucose monitoring as early rumors suggested — blood pressure monitoring, as in the abandoned Apple Watch 6 feature we all sort of just forgot about.
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With the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and older Galaxy Watch models including blood pressure monitoring, we considered it a matter of time before the Apple Watch earned the feature, too.
For all we know, blood pressure monitoring could've been ready on the company's end for last year's Apple Watch 6 or even the Apple Watch SE. But it would be unlike Apple to launch a new health tool that isn't backed by medical authorities, namely the FDA.
The Galaxy Watch 4's blood pressure monitor doesn't work for those in the U.S. specifically for this reason. The FDA's non-invasive blood pressure monitor guidance (opens in new tab) outlines a number of necessary tests and proof of accuracy, though it's unknown why Samsung hasn't met the requirements. We do know that calibrating the blood pressure monitor is more intensive than, say, knowing how to use the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 body composition feature.
If Apple were to release a smartwatch promising blood pressuring monitoring, it would probably do so when it's accessible for as many of the Apple Watch's 100 million users (opens in new tab) as possible.
Limited Apple Watch 7 leaks have proven the company's success in keeping the next-generation smartwatch plans a surprise, but we've seen more information slip through as we near the expected launch. In addition to an all-but-confirmed, flat-edge redesign, the Apple Watch 7 is believed to come in larger sizes and feature a new double-sided S7 processor for improved performance.
But one thing we haven't heard about is health upgrades. Beyond support for new activity types and a mental wellness initiatives in watchOS 8, we've wondered what exclusive health feature the Apple Watch will offer. After blood glucose monitoring rumors got squashed, I figured some kind of skin temperature reader as seen on the Fitbit Sense made sense.
Could it just as easily be blood pressure monitoring? The last we heard, a tipster said though Apple is working on blood pressure tracking, it wouldn't be ready for the Apple Watch 6. The source cited accuracy as a problem.
As long as Apple reached the degree of accuracy required by the FDA, or at least proved it couldn't mislead someone's understanding of their vitals, blood pressure monitoring could certainly help maintain the Apple Watch's best smartwatch title. At the very least, it'd make for the best Apple Watch yet in terms of health and wellness tracking.
Apple Watch 7 blood pressure monitoring: Why it probably won't happen
This is mostly speculation based on what we know about Samsung's approach to non-invasive blood pressure monitoring via Galaxy Watch, as well as the rumors we've heard in the past two years about blood pressure monitoring for Apple Watch.
Nikkei's report or sources could have it completely wrong. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, there's "no chance (opens in new tab)" blood pressure monitoring materializes on the Apple Watch 7. Gurman's Apple intel is typically credible.
Either way, as we get more updates from the production line, we should learn more about what Apple Watch 7 features are (or aren't) in store.