Ever since the Apple Watch arrived on the scene in 2015, each new year has ushered in a new version of the high-tech timepiece. That’s why it’s likely that a successor to the Apple Watch Series 7 — presumably called the Apple Watch Series 8 — is already in the works, even as we’re probably months out from the next Apple event.
The Series 7, which Apple unveiled alongside the iPhone 13 lineup in September, didn’t receive many significant changes apart from feature updates like an enlarged screen, faster charging and improved durability. That means the company might be paving the way for a more pronounced revamp in the next-gen Apple Watch, especially in the health department — and especially in light of the prolonged reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some rumors, however, say some new health features may still be a few years away.
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Health: Apple Watch Series 8 may debut thermometer and blood pressure monitoring
Years before the pandemic, Apple already held long-term health ambitions for its popular wrist accessory, with CEO Tim Cook describing health as Apple’s “greatest contribution to mankind.” But according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, there are a number of health features in the pipeline, and some of them could make their way to the Watch Series 8 (or whatever Apple chooses to call it) as early as this year. Those features include a thermometer to help with fertility planning (though in the future it might help with detecting fevers) as well as a blood-pressure monitoring. The latter would work by measuring the speed of the wave a heartbeat sends through a person’s arteries using sensors, according to the WSJ.
Unlike traditional blood pressure monitoring cuffs, which are usually strapped around the upper arm, it will not provide baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements. Instead, it will tell you how your blood pressure is trending, the report says. Samsung has previously incorporated a similar blood pressure feature in this year’s Galaxy Watch 4, which is available in some countries and regions like South Korea and Europe, where it has received regulatory approval. Apart from the thermometer and blood pressure monitoring, there have also been credible rumors suggesting Apple is secretly toiling away on features such as non-invasive blood glucose monitoring, sleep apnea detection and car crash detection.
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According to Bloomberg’s seasoned tech reporter Mark Gurman, however, we shouldn’t hold our breath for these new health features to arrive on the upcoming Apple Watch. When addressing the Series 8’s rumored capacity to sense body temperature, monitor blood glucose and blood pressure in his PowerOn newsletter he wrote, “Don’t expect any of these soon. Body temperature was on this year’s roadmap, but chatter about it has slowed down recently. Blood pressure is at least two to three years away, while I wouldn’t be surprised if glucose monitoring doesn’t land until later in the second half of the decade.”
Design: Apple Watch Series 8 could go bigger
By and large, the overall aesthetic of the Apple Watch has remained virtually unchanged since the original one made waves back in 2015. While the chances of a redesign to a flat-edged timepiece for next year appear to be slim, rumors suggest that Apple may go bigger yet again after enlarging the display of the Watch Series 7. According to posts on Twitter by display analyst Ross Young, a third size of the Apple Watch may come to fruition this year, sitting alongside the existing 41mm and 45mm variants, which were introduced with the Watch Series 7.
A new model: The rugged Apple Watch
According to Gurman, Apple is mulling launching “with a rugged casing” and a rubberized exterior designed for use in more extreme conditions than day-to-day wear. According to the report, Apple is targeting athletes, hikers and people who’d generally use it in extreme environments. According to the report, it will have the same functionality as a standard Apple Watch but better protection and impact-resistance. Apple is expected to launch the rugged Apple Watch in 2022.
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