Apple announced its new iPhone lineup yesterday but arguably the most interesting announcement of the event was the Apple Watch Series 4. While we knew with almost certainty that there would be a new Apple Watch during this event, the new wearable stole the show thanks to its larger, higher resolution display, and a number of new health-focused features.
One of those features is the addition of an Electrocardiogram, or ECG. Used by experts to monitor heart conditions like atrial fibrillation, the ECG feature uses a heart rate sensor on the back of the Apple Watch coupled with electrodes built into the back as well as its redesigned Digital Crown.
When a user places their finger on the Digital Crown they create a closed loop, allowing the watch to take an ECG reading in just 30-seconds. That’s a potentially life-saving feature, but it’s only going to be available in the United States and even more disappointingly, it’s not going to be available when the Apple Watch goes on sale next week, either.
The reason the ECG feature will not be available outside of the United States is likely one relating to the red tape required to launch such a feature internationally. Apple says the feature has been given the OK by the FDA, but that only applies to the States.
We’d expect similar moves to be made to tick the right boxes required to bring an international launch to fruition, although we’ve no idea how long that may take. It’s also not clear why U.S. users will not get the feature on launch day, either.
There is some Apple Watch-related good news though, with there being four new Apple Watch faces coming to older wearables so long as they can run watchOS 5. That’s all Apple Watches bar the original one, for those wondering.
The four new faces include the Breathe face that ties into the existing feature by the same name, as well as the fire and water face that Apple debuted on stage.
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