Today, Apple unveiled its Apple Watch Series 4, and tech health observers are noting that the latest Watch improvements provide a strong signal that Apple is taking concrete steps toward becoming a true mobile health provider.
Three of the latest features for the Apple Watch could prove valuable to people with type 1 diabetes.
The biggest new feature:
-One Drop announced that its newest Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter, One Drop Chrome, will be able to directly transmit blood glucose readings to the Apple Watch companion app (with Apple watches Series 2 and above). Previously, One Drop meter users needed to manually enter blood glucose readings to the app. The company said it would begin shipping its Chrome on the same day it announced the new feature.
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Also of interest:
-The Apple Watch Series 4 now includes technology that can detect when the wearer falls, and send a signal to Siri to call for help. While no one wants to think of falling because of a bout of hypoglycemia, this feature could provide an additional layer of security, especially for the quickly growing population of older individuals with type 1 diabetes.
-Apple announced it has received FDA clearance to market the Apple Watch Series 4 for its ability to conduct an electrocardiogram to measure heart rhythm. It also received FDA clearance, with some caveats, to market the Watch for its ability to alert people who may be at risk of atrial fibrillation. People with type 1 diabetes are at much greater risk of heart issues than the average population.
For several years. diabetes health tech evangelists have been waiting and hoping for tech giants, from Google to Apple, to use their deep tech knowledge and deeper pockets to bring a bloodless glucose monitor to market. While those initial hopes have been dashed, this latest round of health features could be an important signal that Apple considers health tech a priority, and that it’s taking incremental steps toward tech innovation that could eventually lead to even more breakthroughs in diabetes care.