Apple Watch 6 could combat coronavirus with this new feature
Much like every Apple Watch product launch, the upcoming Apple Watch 6 will come with a variety of health-tracking features. Not only to improve wellbeing but potentially save lives In this current COVID-19 pandemic. One anticipated addition could be a game-changer for wearable devices.
One of the severe symptoms of COVID-19 is Pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. The infection causes inflammation in the air sacs in your lungs, which are called alveoli. The alveoli fill with fluid or pus, making it difficult to breathe.
Silent hypoxia is a breathing problem associated with COVID pneumonia. A pulse oximeter could provide an early warning system as it is designed to detect silent hypoxia. This life-threatening condition has determined the fate of many of the 2 million coronavirus patients around the world.
The ability to detect silent hypoxia in its very earliest stages would keep more and more patients off of ventilators. Something the world is still short of. This shortage was covered in our stories Ford joins the battle against COVID-19 and How can Formula 1 Teams help the NHS?.
Pulse oximetry requires the use of a special thermometer, which can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies. When placed on a fingertip for a few seconds, a pulse oximeter can read oxygen saturation and pulse rate. Pulse oximeters are extremely reliable in identifying coronavirus warning signs like heightened heart rates and subtle oxygenation issues.
With such monitoring, Covid-19-related pneumonia or silent hypoxia can be recognised sooner. This could increase a patient's chances of avoiding ventilators, and help healthcare workers better form treatment plans for those who are ill.
The Apple Watch 6 is expected to be released in late 2020 but no official date is confirmed as yet. All previous versions, except the original Apple Watch, were launched in September of their respective years. However, with the current lockdown restrictions could impact this.
As with any new Apple product, rumours are part of the process. Reports suggest one possibility is the Watch 6 might use a microLED instead of the OLED screen seen on the Watch 5. The main advantage of microLED is it is far more power-efficient, thus meaning longer battery life.
This theory is based on a patent, as seen in this image above. The application for the patent explains that this could be achieved by moving the antennas to the strap. Moving it away from the watch body itself.
It’s a change that as well as potentially creating space for a fingerprint scanner could also theoretically leave room for a larger battery. It would however limit the ability for third-party companies to offer straps, and likely mean that strap replacements would be very expensive.
A big departure for an upcoming Apple Watch may be a switch to a digital crown. Rather than the rotating option that sits on every Apple Watch model.
There's no guarantee this will be included on the Apple Watch 6. However, it may be something the company is experimenting with thanks to a patent that we've seen from the company.
It's very likely the Apple Watch 6 will come with a new version of the company's software on board. We currently expect that to be called watchOS 7. So far we've yet to learn of any of the features that will come with it.