Following last week’s WWDC 2022 keynote, Apple’s VP of Health Dr. Sumbul Desai, Head of Operations Jeff Williams, and VP of Fitness Technology Jay Blahnik spoke with TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington about the new health features in watchOS 9.
One of the Apple Watch’s new health features, Apple says, is atrial fibrillation history, which allows individuals diagnosed with atrial fibrillation to see an estimated frequency of their hearts being in this arrhythmia.
Apple says the feature is for people 22 or older who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation history function was approved by the FDA in the United States after being validated in a clinical study.
Apple says everything it does in health is based on science, with a history of atrial fibrillation validated in a clinical study in which participants wore both an Apple Watch and an FDA-approved reference device. In the study, the average difference in weekly measurements between the two devices was actually less than 1 percent.
The AFib history function may prove useful when a patient undergoes ablation therapy for chronic atrial fibrillation, but treatment is unsuccessful the first time, and the patient continues to develop atrial fibrillation.
According to Apple, not all countries or regions currently approve atrial fibrillation history, so the feature’s availability will be limited at launch. Starting with watchOS 9, the Apple Watch also offers sleep stage tracking, allowing you to see how much time you spend in REM sleep, core sleep, or deep sleep, and when you’re likely to wake up.
So, using signals from the Apple Watch’s accelerometer and heart rate sensors, users will now be able to see their sleep stages while they’re in REM sleep, core sleep, and deep sleep.
On watchOS 9, the Workout app shows more information, including views for metrics like activity rings, heart rate zones, power, and altitude. watchOS 9 is currently in developer beta and will be released to all users around September.