The Apple Watch Series 4 now features one of the industry-first features. The sleek wrist-wearable device from Apple Inc. is receiving an update to the WatchOS software. The incremental update switches on the Electrocardiogram or ECG function. Moreover, Apple has confirmed it will add the ability to monitor for irregular heart rate to all the previous Apple Watch editions.
The Apple Watch Series 4 launched alongside the latest Apple iPhones 2018 Editions. The sleek and improved iPhones were the primary attraction. However, smartwatch enthusiasts were quite excited about the latest Apple Watch. The anticipation and subsequent euphoria about the smart wrist-wearable fitness, health and activity monitor is quite justified owing to the number of new features and the powerful new hardware the Apple Watch offers. With the new ECG feature switching on, Apple Watch Series 4 buyers can boast of an innovative and significantly progressive improvement in the abilities of the smartwatch.
Apple Watch 4 Gets ECG While All Previous Models Get Irregular Heart Rate Monitoring Ability
Back when Apple Inc. launched the Apple Watch Series 4, the company promoted the smartwatch as the first consumer device to pack the Electrocardiogram or ECG function. The ECG function is a step ahead in monitoring a low heart rate to sense a dangerous condition known as an atrial fibrillation. Although the hardware to support ECG was present, Apple did not activate the ECG function in the Apple Watch 4 back when it officially launched.
However, the ECG feature is available starting December 6. This is because Apple has begun sending out Apple WatchOS update that brings up the WatchOS to version 5.1.2. Incidentally, the Apple Watch Series 4 is the only smartwatch to offer the ECG function. However, all the Apple Watches, going back to the original Apple Watch Series 1, will get the irregular rate notification feature.
U.S. FDA and Apple Inc. Issue Cautionary Warning About Using the ECG Function
The Apple Watch Series 4 packs all the hardware to offer a continuously monitored ECG of the wearer. However, the U.S. FDA has previously warned that the ECG app is for “informational use only”. The authority noted the feature “should not be used by people under 22 years old.” The regulatory authority further warned that users must not treat the ECG from the latest Apple Watch as a medically valid clinical result. In other words, the regulatory cautioned users that they mustn’t take “clinical action” solely based on the device’s data readings. While this appears cautionary in nature, the authority stressed that Apple Watch users must always consult qualified healthcare professional, and rely only on proper clinical trials.
Quite a few experts have claimed that many Apple Watch Series 4 users could start drawing incorrect inferences. They claim such paranoid Apple Watch users may needlessly rush to their doctors or hospitals’ emergency room. Incidentally, Apple has reaffirmed and reiterated the FDA’s warnings. The company clarified that the ECG feature is in no circumstances, a reliable diagnostic tool.
Apple Expands Apple Watch Return Period
Apple recently extended its Apple Watch return period. Previously the company allowed only two weeks. However, Apple significantly increased the return period to 45 days. Interestingly, the relaxed return period is valid only for Apple Watches that face some technical issues about the heart monitoring feature.
The WatchOS version 5.1.2 has begun rolling out. However, the the ECG function is only available in the US. It is still quite possible Apple may gradually increase the number of regions in which the Apple Watch offers an ECG and watches out for irregular heartbeat.