Apple is currently in the process of beta testing watchOS 5.1.2, the next update to the smartwatch lineup.
And it turns out that software, when it becomes publicly available, will bring with it one of the most anticipated apps to the wearable device. As was first reported on Wednesday by MacRumors, Apple will roll out the ECG app to the Apple Watch Series 4 (and only this model) when watchOS 5.1.2 goes live. The publication’s report is backed by internal documentation from Apple the publication was able to obtain.
According to the FDA, the Apple Watch Series 4 is capable of handling heart readings in a similar fashion as to a single-lead electrocardiogram, something that Apple is obviously very proud of. With that feature, and in conjunction with the ECG app on the wearable, the device will be able to read whether or not the wearer is showing signs of atrial fibrillation, a major irregular heart rhythm. It will also be able to determine if the wearer is showing signs of a normal sinus rhythm as well.
“Apple’s training document states that the ECG app is regulated and only available in regions cleared for use. The app will initially be limited to the United States, where Apple has received FDA clearance, but Apple Watch Series 4 models sold worldwide include the electrical heart sensor for future expansion.
Apple Store employees are instructed to advise customers that the ECG app is “not intended to be a diagnostic device or to replace traditional methods of diagnosis,” and “should not be used to monitor or track disease state or change medication without first talking to a doctor,” according to Apple’s document.”
Apple notes in the internal documentation that the Apple Watch Series 4 will need to be running watchOS 5.1.2 to take advantage of the ECG feature, and that the paired iPhone will need to be running iOS 12.1.1, and be iPhone 5s model or newer. At the time of publication, while both watchOS 5.1.2 and iOS 12.1.1 are in beta testing, there is no word on when those new updates will be released to the public. It’s possible they arrive sometime in December.
If you picked up the Apple Watch Series 4, is this one feature you’re looking forward to?