Apple developing advanced heart monitor for new Apple Watch: Report

At Cupertino, a prototype version of the Apple Watch allows users to squeeze the frame with two fingers to send a weak electrical current to the heart to pick up signals.

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(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Apple is working to beef up its Apple Watch with more health features. According to Bloomberg, Apple is planning to include a more advanced heart monitor in future versions of the smartwatch.

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Behind the walls of Cupertino, a version of the Apple Watch being tested requires users to squeeze the frame with two fingers to send a weak electrical current to the heart to pick up signals, the report said.

While the Apple Watch currently has heart monitoring features, the new electrocardiograms (EKG) tech would help detect heart beat irregularities -- no doctor's office required. It would take the Apple Watch past fitness use cases for heart monitoring.

It's not clear when Apple could bring the future to market. Past ironing out the features, EKG tech in a wearable will need to be cleared by regulators. Earlier this year, they cleared an EKG strap accessory for the Apple Watch from a third-party maker.

Apple Watch has already been used extensively in the health field. A study last month said the Apple Watch can be used to accurately detect hypertension and sleep apnea through machine learning and heart rate monitoring.

Apple has proactively pursued health care apps for its operating systems and Apple Watch, and it has filed patents for health-related wearable tech like emergency-detecting sensors. Apple is also involved in a heart rate study in partnership with Stanford University.

Previous rumors said Apple is also looking into noninvasive blood sugar monitoring to better treat diabetes. The technology would help rid of needles diabetes patients use often daily to test their blood.

We have reached out to Apple, and will update you if we learn more. Bloomberg cautioned Apple could changes its plans and could put more advanced heart monitoring technology in the Apple Watch in an entirely different way.