Apple has launched a new suite of products for 2018 with arguably the most innovative being the Apple Watch Series 4, which is now approved as a medical device by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The watch is equipped with a sensor that lets users take an electrocardiogram (ECG) in just 30 seconds and can detect an atrial fibrillation. It also notifies the user if their heartrate gets too low.
Another feature can automatically detect if a user falls and initiates an emergency call if the wearer remains immobile for one minute. Apple said it had worked closely with the FDA to develop the apps.
“The Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health,” Apple COO Jeff Williams said.
Apple has announced a new Apple Watch, the Series 4. It's 2x as fast, has a larger screen, and has FDA-approved heart rate technology never seen before in an Apple Watch, doubling down on the company's commitment to wearable health tracking. #AppleEvent https://t.co/BlJgv2lcfc pic.twitter.com/K8WokCaM74
— WIRED (@WIRED) September 12, 2018
Apple moving into the health and wellness space with Apple Watch Series 4
“Consumers are now empowered to take more control of their own health information to make better informed decisions about their medical care and healthy living,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement.
The data collected by the watch will be stored in the iOs Health App and can be exported to a PDF file so users can easily share their statistics with a doctor.
The new watch face, titled Breathe, will also help users do breathing exercises.
Series 4 watches also feature an edge-to-edge screen which is 30% larger than its predecessor and offers greater brightness and volume.
The new @Apple Watch has 3 new heart features.
– A notification if your heart rate gets too low
– Screening to notify you if it detects an irregular rhythm
– An electrocardiogram (ECG) measurement using a new electrical heart sensor: #AppleEvent https://t.co/BJTSzxsFkK pic.twitter.com/eJnszuxVpI
— Recode (@Recode) September 12, 2018
Apple now the market leader in smartwatches
The apple watch will retail for US$399 (GPS) and US$499 for the cellular version. The Series 3 watches will drop in price to US$279 when the models hit the shelves.
Apple’s move into the wearable technology wellness space was bad news for Fitbit, whose shares were down 4% after the announcement.
Apple has become the market leader for smartwatches with a 17% market share in the second quarter of 2018. It sold 4.7 million smartwatches in the quarter which represents a 38% increase from the same quarter last year.
Apple also launched new versions of the iPhone XS and the larger XS Mas as well as the iPhone XR, a slightly cheaper model than the XS. There were few surprises in the new phones, however, and the company seems content to redesign within existing parameters.
The much-vaunted Apple AR headset, however, was nowhere to be seen.