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Apple Reportedly Plans Blood-Pressure Measure in Smartwatch

Apple reportedly looks to add a series of health-related features to upcoming versions of its smartwatch.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report is reportedly working on a series of health-related features for its smartwatch, including a tool to tell users when their blood pressure is increasing and a thermometer to help with fertility planning.

Shares of the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant, which touched an all-time high on Wednesday, were up 1.9% to $154.65 at last check.

The fertility feature could be available as soon as next year, along with potential improvements to its irregular-heartbeat monitoring and an upgrade to how it tracks sleep patterns, The Wall Street Journal reported. The paper cited people familiar with the plans and internal company documents.

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The company is expected to release its seventh version of the Apple Watch in coming weeks, but most of its more ambitious health-related improvements aren’t expected before 2022.

Looking beyond next year, Apple wants its smartwatch to be able to detect sleep apnea, provide medical guidance when it senses low blood oxygen levels and, eventually, detect diabetes.

Blood pressure is commonly measured with an inflatable cuff wrapped around the upper arm.

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Since the sensors in smartwatches and smartphones can’t replicate that, Apple is studying a proxy that measures the speed of the wave a heart beat sends through a person’s arteries using sensors in the Apple Watch.

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The feature being considered would try to show users how their blood pressure is trending, but without providing a baseline measure of systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Some employees have raised questions to managers about how useful such a feature would be, the Journal said, though they cautioned that the feature is still in development and could change.

Apple is also studying blood-pressure monitoring with an additional cuffless device that could provide a more precise reading without inflating.

On Tuesday, Nikkei Asia reported that production of Apple's latest smartwatch has been delayed largely due to the device's complicated design.

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