With Wednesday’s unveiling of the Apple Watch Ultra, the tech behemoth has taken another step toward realizing its health and wellness ambitions.
The updated Apple Watch, which will go on sale later this month, has many of the health and connectivity features found in previous versions, including an ECG app to record a person’s heartbeat, sleep tracking and blood oxygen monitoring.
Its high-profile rollout underscores the continued popularity of wearables among consumers. However, the Apple Watch Ultra also includes several new capabilities related to health, wellness and activity.
One of the most significant innovations is the introduction of temperature-sensing functionality. In addition to recording overnight temperature changes, the temperature-sensing capabilities allow for advanced menstruation cycle tracking that improves period predictions for users.
Apple added that Cycle Tracking users can now receive notifications in the event that there is a deviation in their logged cycle history.
Another new function is Heart Rate Zones, which are personalized to individual users and are automatically calculated based on their health data. The watch is also equipped with a feature that analyzes a user’s running form and helps them run more efficiently.
Additionally, Apple Watch Ultra features two motion sensors along with an advanced sensor-fusion algorithm to detect a severe car crash and contact emergency services if a user is unresponsive following a 10-second countdown.
This functionality bolsters Apple’s stated goals of using health data and GPS location technology to assist users in pressing situations. It was showcased in an ad campaign released in January.
As with other Apple products, the updated watch was designed with privacy in mind. Health and fitness data are encrypted and stored in the Health App, along with any other health data backed up to iCloud.
The introduction of additional health features in the redesigned watch is the latest example of expanding the scope of what wearable devices can do. In mid-June, the Food and Drug Administration approved Run Lab’s Apple Watch software for tracking symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.