New workhorse of several manufacturers, temperature measurement could finally arrive on the Apple Watch with its Series 8 version expected at the end of the year. In any case, this is what an analyst specializing in Apple products predicts.
What if the next health measurement to have on your connected watch was that of body temperature? Highlighted on certain watches and in particular the recent Huawei Watch D – announced only in China for the moment – this function was also expected on the Watch Series 7 at Apple, before being abandoned for lack of time to implement it, according to the comments of various analysts on the subject. A few months before the presentation of the Watch Series 8, the rumor resurfaced, but is it credible?
For analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in any case, his arrival should indeed take place this year, provided of course that the algorithm associated with this measure can “meet Apple’s high requirements before mass production“, he specifies in a tweet. If the man does not get too wet, it is for a good reason, linked to the very nature of the temperature measurement that a watch can achieve.
Apple canceled body temperature measurement for Apple Watch 7 because the algorithm failed to qualify before entering EVT stage last year. I believe Apple Watch 8 in 2H22 could take body temperature if the algorithm can meet Apple’s high requirements before mass production.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) May 1, 2022
Skin temperature, variable by nature
Indeed, who says device attached to the wrist, inevitably says measurement of skin temperature from a sensor located under the watch and in contact with the skin – in the absence of communication with a remote sensor which would however bring other constraints . However, the skin temperature varies greatly, in particular on a limb often exposed to the open air such as the wrist. In order to offer relevant temperature information — in particular by detecting the start of a feverish episode or by analyzing the menstrual cycle — the sensor used in a watch must not only be precise enough, but also be associated with algorithms that are sophisticated enough to exclude inconsistent measurements. It is the development of such algorithms that would slow down many manufacturers, in particular Apple, which would therefore have resolved to abandon the temperature measurement for its Watch Series 7 released last year. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Samsung would also encounter difficulties and its Galaxy Watch 5, expected for this year too, may not be provided due to “limitations of algorithms“.
A temperature measurement that must convince to exist
We can understand the reluctance of Apple and Samsung on this subject, since they are targeting a relatively high-end segment with their watch, associated with certain quality standards. Not meeting this standard would mean taking the risk of disappointing users and reducing this function to a gimmick. It is moreover the gadget aspect of measuring skin temperature that has so far emerged from our experiences with watches that have passed through our hands, which do not bother with any analysis whatsoever and are incapable of identifying true variations in body temperature.
As technology is evolving rapidly, in particular with increasingly precise sensors and ever more intelligent algorithms, we can still hope to see the arrival of real body temperature monitoring solutions in connected watches. Will the Apple Watch Series 8 be the first to convince us? At a time when we are analyzing electronic medical thermometers that sometimes struggle to measure the temperature in areas that are more favorable than the wrist, we remain on the sidelines.