As is the case with many unofficial leaks and tips, rumored features about upcoming products tend to flip flop from time to time. One source will say that a certain feature will happen, while another will refute that claim later on. Of course, sometimes it depends on the person reporting the rumored feature, but even the most prolific tipster doesn’t always get it right. In the case of the Apple Watch Series 8 arriving later this year, the consensus seems to be that it won’t be a big deal compared to its immediate predecessor. The one thing it might have going for it is the much-anticipated body temperature sensor, which could actually happen, presuming it passes Apple’s very strict standards.
Over the years, smartwatches have transformed into what are essentially mobile diagnostic clinics, going beyond the typical pedometers and altimeters to give wearers a better overview of their health. Nearly every model has heart rate sensors already, and some have blood oxygen monitors that became particularly popular because of COVID-19. Only a few smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch, boast some sort of ECG functionality — and even then, it’s limited to only a few territories.
Apple has been particularly obsessed with equipping its smartwatch with every conceivable health feature, and for a good reason. There have been numerous headlines about how the smartwatch has saved lives either by warning wearers of potential health problems or contacting emergency services in an accident. Its next trick might not be as sensational, but it will undoubtedly help save lives as well.
Apple may beat Samsung to the punch
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Rumors about a smartwatch that can properly measure body temperatures have been going on for a long time. Given how common thermometers are, it might come as a shock to know that it’s harder to pull off with a smartwatch. Both Samsung and Apple are reportedly racing to be the first to come out with the feature, but according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (via 9to5Mac), Apple is squarely in the lead.
It’s not a done deal, though, and it will largely depend on whether the sensor’s margin of error will be within an acceptable range for Apple — assuming the leak is accurate, of course. The reading that this body temperature sensor provides probably won’t be accurate compared to even the most basic thermometer, but it should still be useful to give an idea of whether the user’s vitals are within the normal range. Of course, if its output is too unreliable, Apple might scrap it altogether in favor of a later release. Even if it does pass Apple’s standards, the feature will still need regulatory approval before it gets activated in a specific market.
Other than this new sensor, there might be nothing new to expect from the Apple Watch Series 8 later this year. Gurman earlier claimed that the Apple S8 chip inside this smartwatch would be exactly the same as the Apple S6 processor from two years back. The size and features of the smartwatches will be nearly identical as well, likely making it a minor upgrade that will really only matter if the body temperature sensor makes the cut.