Part of the allure of an Apple Watch has been its ability to let you monitor everything from your fitness to your email. Now, Apple is taking that mission one step further and has included additional features in the Apple Watch Series 4 that can monitor your heart and maybe even save your life.
Today, at Apple’s annual announcement of their latest products and innovations, Apple COO Jeff Williams introduced us to the world’s first FDA-approved over-the-counter device in the U.S. to offer electrocardiogram readings as well as another feature that detects atrial fibrillation (also known as A-fib).
Dr. Ivor J. Benjamin, the president of the American Heart Association, briefly took the stage and said that “capturing meaningful data about a person’s heart in real time is changing the way we practice medicine.”
So what makes the Series 4 different from previous versions of Apple Watches? The FDA-approved technology involves improvements to their existing heart rate sensors, which will send a notification if your heart rate is too low as well as detect instances of an irregular heartbeat. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease, so any technology that could help us stay on top of our cardiovascular health is a step in the right direction.
Another notable health-related development is the Series 4’s ability to detect when the person wearing it falls. If the wearer falls and does not get up, the watch prompts Siri to make an emergency call on their behalf.
The Apple Watch Series 4 goes on sale on Friday and becomes available on Sept. 21. It starts at $399 for a model with GPS and $499 for a model with cellular capabilities. But potentially catching life-threatening heart issues in their early stages is priceless.