The iWatch will have limited sensors, but for good reason because…
Apple’s iWatch team includes many sensor experts, many with expertise in glucose sensing. Along with their secretive meeting with the FDA and news that GoogleX is working on glucose-sensing contact lenses, speculation arose that Apple’s game-changing feature might be glucose monitoring.
Unfortunately, building a consistent, reliable, trans-cutaneous glucose sensor has long been the holy grail of the diabetes research community, and the hassles of FDA regulation would significantly hinder the timing of future product releases.
Having reviewed many different activity trackers, including the Basis Band that incorporate sensors for heart rate, skin temperature, and perspiration, it’s easy to expect every sensor possible in the iWatch. The logic goes, surely Apple would need the best sensors to make the best fitness tracker. Especially now that Samsung has included a heart rate monitor, Apple’s iWatch must follow suit, right?
I’m not convinced the iWatch must feature a heart rate monitor to be successful. Apple has been known to have laser focus when introducing new product categories (e.g. the original iPad lacked a camera, which many criticized as a deal breaker), and often will skimp on extra hardware features for the sake of battery life and improved/simplified user experience.
Battery life has been a huge barrier for the popularization of activity trackers, evidenced by the fact that FuelBand and Fitbit Force all lacked an always-on screen. In order to convince the average consumer who has grown accustomed to changing watch batteries once a year, Apple will focus on having at least a 5 day battery life.
More important than battery life, the iWatch will forego extra features to better bring mHealth to the forefront…