“Apple is trying to turn its smartwatch from a niche gadget into a lifeline to better health by slowly evolving it into a medical device,” Michael Liedtke reports for The Associated Press. “In its fourth incarnation, called Series 4 and due out later this month, the Apple Watch will add features that allow it to take high-quality heart readings and detect falls.”

“The latest version, unveiled Wednesday, is pushing the health envelope even further — in particular by taking electrocardiograms, or EKGs, a feature given clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Apple said. The watch will also monitor for irregular heartbeats and can detect when the wearer has fallen, the company said,” Liedtke reports. “EKGs are important tests of heart health and typically require a visit to the doctor. The feature gained an onstage endorsement from Ivor Benjamin, a cardiologist who is president of the American Heart Association. He said such real-time data would change the way doctors work.”

Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) in Stainless Steel Case with White Sport Band (40mm $699, 44mm $749)

Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) in Stainless Steel Case with White Sport Band (40mm $699, 44mm $749)

“Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said the feature could turn smartwatches ‘from something people buy for prestige into something they buy for more practical reasons,'” Liedtke reports. “It could also lead some health insurance plans to subsidize the cost of an Apple Watch, Nguyen said.”

Read more in the full article here.

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