Apple Watch rumored to get Touch ID and blood oxygen sensor

iUpdate and The Verifier are reporting on possible upcoming changes to watchOS 7 and future-generation Apple Watch models. Apple is reportedly investigating two concurrent methods to adding Touch ID to the Apple Watch: Integrating a fingerprint sensor into the Digital Crown or adding a fingerprint sensor under the display. It’s not clear if this would be ready for Apple Watch Series 6, expected later this year, as The Verifier reports it as an Apple Watch Series 7 feature coming in 2021.

Apple Watch Touch ID. Image: Apple Watch Edition Series 5 with White Ceramic Case and Leather Loop
Apple Watch Edition Series 5 with White Ceramic Case and Leather Loop

Benjamin Mayo for 9to5Mac:

Right now, the Apple Watch offers no biometric authentication options. Instead, users must type in a PIN code the first time they put the watch on their wrist. The watch automatically locks itself when it detects it has been removed from the arm. You can also have your watch automatically unlock when the paired iPhone is unlocked.

This helps reduce the number of times you need to type in the PIN code, which makes Touch ID much less of a priority on the watch than on the phone. Nevertheless, it would be cool to have it — either through Touch ID on the crown or the screen.

Beyond Touch ID, the report corroborates 9to5Mac’s reporting on blood oxygen sensor and sleep tracking coming to the Apple Watch with watchOS 7. There will also be improvements to Siri’s capabilities and a wider system UI refresh, according to the report.

MacDailyNews Take:


    1. As every severe diabetic knows, inaccurate blood sugar readings could be harmful. It would be reckless to release any monitor that was not at least as reliable as current FDA approved devices.

      Secondly, solid state sensors have an inherent weakness. How do you keep them clean? The average user can’t maintain clinical cleanliness. They won’t scrub their watch and wrist at every reading. With disposable strips, every blood sample has a fresh clean sensor, minimal skin contaminants.

      If Apple isn’t willing to put in the effort to get FDA approval like all other proper medical equipment, they should shut down the endless speculation that the Watch will someday be a “good enough” health tracker for critical functions like blood sugar monitoring. In the USA, the high liability cannot be ignored. Should Apple lead users to expect what cannot be delivered, merely a corpse or two would enable lawyers to rip Apple a new orifice. MDN would be wise to tamp down on the zeal for big breakthroughs with the Apple Watch.

  1. PulseOx is a huge target for people with breathing issues. Asthmatics for a start, patients with shortness of breath and the list goes on. What might be a minor point for you while driving, such as a drop in PulseOx, can be a critical issue for others.

    Handheld PulseOx devices are actually pretty cheap these days. You get your Oxygen level as well as your pulse. Actually it might be interesting to compare these numbers to drivers who have just been as a DUI.

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