Four features that I want on the Apple Watch Series 6, and one I don't

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

iPhone announcements each year signify the arrival of fall in the northern hemisphere and the upcoming holiday shopping season. There are few surprises in those announcements now thanks to the many (factual) leaks that get published in the months before. Far fewer rumors drop about new Apple Watches, and it's this secrecy that makes Apple's announcement about its latest wearable device more exciting.

There are a few features I'd like to see on the "Apple Watch Series 6," which should be announced right before the iPhone 12 this year. Some of these ideas are based on sporadic rumors that have been released about the new watch. Most, however, are not.

Embrace sleep, Apple

Each year, we hear at least one rumor that says Cupertino is finally going to add sleep tracking to Apple Watch. Unfortunately, we have yet to see any sort of sleep sensors arrive on the wearable device, which is surprising.

Back in 2018, the company bought the Finnish sleep science company Beddit. Since then, none of Beddit's intellectual property has been added to an Apple product. This lack of movement, especially on Apple Watch, comes at a time when Google's Fitbit acquisition continues to release wearable devices that have sleep tracking built-in.

Diabetic check, please

Back in 2018, Christine Chan and I were both diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes. Soon after, we both began using the One Drop Chrome to measure our blood sugar levels. As Chan noted in her 2019 review, the One Drop Chrome, coupled with the One Drop app, does a great job of measuring and keeping track of our levels. Unfortunately, like most of the other blood-tracking devices in the world, One Drop requires a skin prick to work.

However, a 2019 report at Fast Company, said Apple was working with One Drop and other companies to create a contactless means of sampling blood sugar levels. No doubt tied to a future Apple Watch, this type of system would be a game-changer for the millions of people that suffer from both Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes.

Blood oxygen level monitoring

In March, 9to5Mac said it spotted something in a pre-release version of iOS 14 that suggested blood oxygen monitoring is coming to Apple Watch this fall. It's not known whether the feature is exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 6 or is software-based and could run on earlier models.

If this news is correct, it would be a big deal since blood oxygen monitoring can detect when something is wrong. Again, this is something that some Fitbit devices already do, so it makes sense.

Third-party faces

Each version of watchOS tends to include new native watch faces, each more beautiful than the next. However, more should be done on this front. Apple Watch is the company's most personal device in its history, and I can't understand why it doesn't allow third-party developers to offer Apple Watch faces. Hopefully, this head-scratcher is rectified soon.

What I don't want

According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, Apple is looking to bring "mental health capabilities" to Apple Watch as early as this fall. The new feature could include the ability to detect an ongoing panic attack. This sounds like a bad idea, and it's one Prosser rumor I hope turns out not to be true.

Unless I'm mistaken, various factors determine whether someone has a panic attack. These include, but aren't limited to, sweating, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, and more. Because of the many variables, I just can't see how an Apple Watch could make an accurate determination and do so in such a way to keep the user safe.

Hopefully, we'll hear more about Apple's upcoming plans for Apple Watch next month during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Until then, what new features would you like to see on the wearable device? Let us know below.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.