Current Apple Watch may also measure blood oxygen saturation with software update

“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,” Joe White writes for AppAdvice.

“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,'” White writes. “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.”

Full article here.

“Pulse oximetry is basically a non-invasive method of accurately measuring one’s pulse by monitoring oxygen saturation in the blood stream,” Christian Zibreg writes for iDownloadBlog. “Ahead of the official Apple Watch introduction last fall, some Chinese media curiously claimed the wearable device would include optical sensors to measure both heart rate and oxygen levels in blood.”

“Then there is the case of Michael O’Reilly, M.D., who left his position in July 2013 to take on a role at Apple,” Christian Zibreg writes for iDownloadBlog. “He was formerly the Chief Medical Officer and EVP of Medical Affairs at Masimo Corporation, helping the company develop several pulse oximetry devices, including the iSpO2 Pulse Oximeter which connects to the iPhone.”

Zibreg writes, “If enabled via a software update — I’m guessing Apple is awaiting an FDA approval for this — your Apple Watch could monitor the oxygen content of your blood by measuring how much infrared light is absorbed.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: FDA approval was the first thing that popped into our minds, too. Maybe we’ll see this with Watch OS 1.1 or later?

Related article:
Apple’s medical team for iWatch now reportedly includes former Masimo CMO – January 30, 2014


  1. This and other similar rumors of the Watches capabilities were very intriguing to me, but none came to light before launch.
    Apple has purchased other companies with health related technology, hardware not software, and with Apple’s discussions with the FDA it was looking like the Watch could do much more than is advertised.

  2. Or perhaps they are waiting for Google and Samsung to spend a fortune manufacturing and marketing their me-too devices. Then with a single OS upgrade, every Apple Watch user gets new functionality for no cost.

    Then Google and Samsung can fight back with a buy one get five free offer.

  3. The addition of a Pulse Oximeter would be huge for Apple’s movements into medicine. The third measurement I would like to see is blood sugar measurements. That would add a third leg and could explode sales to individuals with diabetes. Because exercise can be a major factor in lowering blood sugars these three measurements, working to gather on a continual basis, would allow patients to know when they need another 5 minutes on the treadmill or they need more. It can warn if blood sugars are falling or increasing too fast,

    1. Blood sugar was one of the other measurements I was hoping for as well.
      I still have not purchased an Apple Watch.. was hoping for the additional medical stuff. Maybe 2.0 i’ll bite.

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