A new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that Apple had initially envisioned the Watch with a focus on health and fitness monitoring. The company pictured its upcoming Watch as a device which could automatically detect the heartbeat, blood pressure, stress levels, and more of its user.
However, as we already know, the final retail unit of the Apple Watch is not going to come with any of these features, and instead will only feature a basic pulse-rate sensor.
There are a multitude of reasons as to why none of these features are making their way to the Apple Watch, but the biggest of them all is consistency. As Apple found out in its testing, most of the health-sensor technology available in the market were not up to Apple’s standards. They did not work reliably and consistently and their results even varied depending on how tightly the watch was worn by its user.
Apple began developing the watch about four years ago, with a focus on health and fitness. It’s not unusual for Apple to experiment with many technologies or shift focus during product development, but the watch was especially challenging, people familiar with the matter said. Internally, the project became known as a “black hole” sucking in resources, one of these people said.
The company experimented and tested various sensors, including ways to detect the blood pressure and the amount of oxygen in the blood, but the results were very inconsistent. Additionally, if the company provided any advice to its users based on these results, there was a high probability that it would have needed the regulatory approval from the FDA before it could have sold the Apple Watch to the public.
Apple might have been forced to remove quite a lot of health-monitoring features from the Apple Watch, but WSJ’s sources indicate that the company might include them in future versions as the sensor technology improves.
WSJ’s sources also indicate that Apple has asked its suppliers to manufacture five-six million units of the Apple Watch for the first quarter after its launch with nearly half the ordered units consisting of the entry level Apple Watch Sports and one-third for the stainless-steel variant with sapphire crystal protecting the display.
[Via The Wall Street Journal]