A future Apple Watch could offer blood sugar and pressure measurements

Apple Watch Series 5
Apple Watch Series 5 (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A future Apple Watch could be capable of measuring blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
  • Apple is working with a UK company that has sensors capable of measuring such things.

A future Apple Watch could be able to measure a user's blood sugar level as well as their blood pressure via a noninvasive method thanks to specialist sensors created by a UK startup.

Rockley Photonics already has sensors similar to those used on the back of Apple Watches sold around the world, but it's also working on something that's much more capable, according to a Gadgets and Wearables report. Rockley Photonics lists Apple as one of its biggest customers.

The light on the underside of a smartwatch probes under the skin where it is scattered by blood vessels and cells and the interstitial fluid in between. The reflected light is analyzed by the wearable to capture info such as heart rate and heart rate variability. Red LED is used to gather info on blood oxygen levels.The difference between Rockley sensors and the ones typically used today is that higher wavelengths are utilized in addition to those on the visible spectrum. This has the potential to revolutionize the non-invasive healthcare market which was created by the advent of fitness trackers.

The current Apple Watch Series 6 can measure heart rate and blood oxygen levels but the ability to measure other things would be a big addition, especially blood pressure. Being able to keep track of their blood pressure could be a real lifesaver for those who suffer from various heart conditions.

Its current array of sensors makes Apple Watch Series 6 the best Apple Watch you can buy, but with the new version coming later this year that won't be the case for long.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.