Apple's latest smartwatch does more than tell the time and keep you connected. It may also save your life.
The Apple Watch has always had health monitoring features that Apple has placed greater emphasis on as the watch evolved. But the new Apple Watch Series 4, which begins pre-orders this Friday (Sept. 14), makes that connection even more explicit. Apple has received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market and sell this new Apple Watch as a medical device.
Just how can Series 4 help you keep tabs on your health? Here's three ways:
When it comes to smart watches, heart-rate trackers are a staple. But the new Apple Watch Series 4 adds an electrocardiogram sensor that can let you take a 30-second ECG when you press the watch's digital crown. The watch measures your heart's rhythm, and determines whether it's beating in a normal pattern. All of your readings are stored in the Health app, where you can directly share them with your doctor.
Using measurements from the new ECG, the watch notifies you if it detects an irregular heart rate (such as atrial fibrillation, or AFib). The feature is intended to warn individuals who are at risk of complications such as stroke and heart failure.
The Series 4 can detect when you've fallen, using new hardware including an updated accelerometer and gyroscope, which analyze your wrist trajectory and acceleration. After a fall, you'll get a dismissable alert that you can use to call emergency services. If the watch detects that you haven't moved for a minute after the call, it can automatically alert emergency services.