The Apple Watch 6 is still rolling big more than a year after its initial launch date, which touted impressive wellness and fitness functionality, and vast hardware improvements, including a S6 System in Package (SiP) and an always-on altimeter, to name a few. Undoubtedly, the Apple Watch 6 is a technologically advanced, high-tech wearable device with a strong emphasis on personal wellness. As such, it has been well-embraced by fans and critics.
Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, accurately described the device prelaunch by stating: “Apple Watch Series 6 completely redefines what a watch can do. With powerful new features, including a Blood Oxygen sensor and app, Apple Watch becomes even more indispensable by providing further insight into overall well-being.”
Blood Oxygen Sensor and App
One of the most lauded additions to the newest generation of Apple Watches is the blood oxygen sensor and app. This new sensor feature can monitor the saturation of oxygen in a user’s bloodstream, delivering pertinent vitals and information (via the corresponding Health app) to help users improve their personal wellness.
The sensor measures SpO2, or the saturation of oxygen in the blood, representing the percentage of oxygen that is being delivered to the lungs and the body via red blood cells. The advanced oxygen sensor relies on clusters of infrared LEDs as well as photodiodes that work to measure light reflected from blood. Using custom algorithms, the watch can deliver real-time blood oxygen level measurements, as well as tracking these levels during activity, inactivity, and sleep.
Users are then able to monitor their stats via the corresponding Health app, which gives them detailed statistics and graphs illustrating their levels over set periods of time.
In addition to impressive blood oxygen level tracking, the Apple Watch 6 offers an array of other wellness-focused features, including sleep tracking and monitoring. To use sleep tracking, Apple does require that your battery level be at 30% or greater to ensure that the watch has enough power to last the duration of your slumber.
The sleep tracking feature lets users set their bedtime in the watch or via the Health App. It tracks the number of hours that a user sleeps as well as their heart rate during their sleep session. All this information is relayed over to the Health app to give users a better, if not limited, understanding of their sleeping habits.
Adding to this feature set is something Apple calls “Wind Down” – a pre-bedtime feature that sends you notifications on when it is time to start getting ready for your nightly sleep. Of course, Apple lets you pair your favorite playlists, viewing lists or reading lists with this feature to help you prepare your brain (and body) for some shuteye.
When it is time to wake up, the watch sends you gentle reminders, vibrations, and soothing morning music (which also goes to your synced phone) to give you a gentle nudge up the next day. It is important to note that the sleep tracker does not track different cycles of sleep like REM, or other stages of sleep, and isn’t designed for that.
It was only a matter of time – all things considered from the happenings of the past two years – before a handwashing feature would be destined to be added to a smart device for end users. So, it comes as no surprise that Apple is the first to the finish line with theirs.
This automated wellness feature in Apple Watch 6 immediately senses whenever your hands are underneath a faucet in a sink. It then starts a timer that encourages or reminds you to keep washing and lathering them for 20 seconds. Of course, the Health app also tracks this data for users, letting them know about trends in their hand washing routine, including instances where they failed to wash their hands long enough to sanitize them.
Other Wellness Features
The above features are not the only health and wellness features that you’ll find in this watch, it actually has quite a few.
Here are a few others you’ll want to know about:
- Heartrate Monitor: This watch comes with a built-in heart rate app that will monitor your heart rate in real-time. It will notify you periodically (depending on your settings) about your current or past heart rate, including giving you options to compare it versus latent and physical periods of your day.
- ECG: You can take an ECG, electrocardiogram (ECG) to check your heart rhythm, with this watch. To do so, merely access the Health app and select: Health Data > Heart > Electrocardiogram. AN ECG takes about 30 seconds to complete, with data sent to your app to monitor it.
- Hearing Protection: Varying exposure to different decibels of noise can damage your hearing over time, and in some cases can lead to loss of hearing. Using the Noise app, your watch can not only measure the noise levels around you, and anywhere else you may go, but it will also warn you if the noise is loud enough to cause damage to your ears.
- Track Menstrual Cycles: A complementing feature to the one that already comes with your iPhone, the watch will also track your menstrual cycles, with the ability for you to keep a real-time menstrual journal (on your phone/in-app) that helps you predict and prepare for your next cycle.
- Track Your Workouts: Of course, Apple Watch 6 will track your workouts, with a variety of options for tracking activities ranging from running to dancing to strength training, and nearly everything in between.