Apple is developing at least two new health features that will expand Apple Watch capabilities. Apple Watch will add blood oxygen monitoring for the first time, 9to5Mac found in iOS 14 code.
Blood oxygen levels between 95 and 100% are considered healthy; blood oxygen levels below 80% may lead to compromised heart and brain functionality. Risk of respiratory or cardiac arrest is common after continued low blood oxygen saturation.
To that end, Apple is developing a new health notification based on the vital measurement. When Apple Watch detects low blood oxygen saturation below a certain threshold, a notification will trigger alerting the user similar to current heart rate notifications.
It’s unclear at this point what hardware and software will be required for blood oxygen detection and notifications. It’s possible future Apple Watch Series 6 hardware will be required for the new health feature. It could also come to all or newer Apple Watch models with watchOS 7 in the fall. The original Apple Watch hardware is believed to be capable of measuring blood oxygen levels through the built-in heart rate monitor.
MacDailyNews Take: This will be a welcome addition to Apple Watch’s impressive and growing list of health capabilities and features. In addition, since Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 currently result in inconclusive ECG readings with heart rates between 100 and 120 beats per minute, the iOS 14 code also suggest that in a future update, in software and/or hardware, will remove that limitation with an upgraded version of Apple’s ECG app.