An updated iFixit teardown of the current-generation Apple Watch (via iDownloadBlog) claims that the smartwatch, which launched on the market back in April, appears to feature hardware capable of measuring blood oxygen saturation levels.
In its Apple Watch teardown article, iFixit explains that the heart rate monitor in the wearable “is actually a plethysmograph – it looks and acts like a pulse oximeter, but Apple isn’t claiming it can measure your blood oxygen level.” As such, iDownloadBlog goes on to suggest that a software update could enable this functionality at some point in the near future, allowing the Apple Watch to calculate more precise calorie burns through measuring the oxygen saturation levels in users’ blood.
At present, the Apple Watch calculates the number of calories users burn using heart rate data, activity data, and the individual wearer’s age, weight, height, and gender. Though calorie estimates are said to be surprisingly accurate, there’s of course always scope for improvement, and blood oxygen saturation data could provide a route towards even more accurate resting and active calorie estimates.
It could also be that the Apple Watch is already implementing this technology in order to determine users’ heart rates and calorie data, though as the publication adds, if this is the case, Cupertino hasn’t highlighted the feature in any of its marketing materials for the Watch.
FDA approval could be what’s holding Apple back from activating the hardware feature through a software update. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.
In the meantime, see: Jony Ive is Apple’s first ever Chief Design Officer, Best new apps of the week: Simple Machines and Sleep Science HQ, and Today’s apps gone free: Pumped BMX 2, Echo Prime, Orby Widgets and more.