New rumors suggest that future Apple Watch models will have an advanced Health app to act as a complete suite for mental and physical health. In other words, it will to gain mental health features to complement the current physical monitoring and the results could be revolutionary
If you have an Apple Watch (you can read my review of the latest model, Apple Watch Series 5, here), you’ll know that it has a range of neat health features, including telling you if your heart rate is unexpectedly high or low. It encourages you to exercise with three concentric rings to measure your activity. And the most recent Series 4 and Series 5 can record an ECG measurement and spot Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).
To be fair, Apple already has one neat element in this direction, the Breathe app which was first released in Fall 2016. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s simple enough, helping you to focus on your breath for 60 seconds. It may not sound much but it can help to manage everyday stress.
The next advance will be to take this to another level, the leaks suggest, with monitoring of panic attacks. Just as the Watch’s heart rate monitor can currently spot the heart rate going up or down and alert the wearer that this is happening, so with the advanced software it will be able to detect panic attacks as well.
More than that, it will also go further and be able to detect when the wearer is feeling stressed
It’s thought that users will be able to turn to the Health app to check their history of detected panic attacks as happens now with high heart rate notifications. Then, they’ll be able to manually add symptoms with a view to achieving greater accuracy.
What’s most exciting about this rumor is what will happen after that. As the Watch learns more and more about how our individual bodies behave in a panic attack, it will find out what were the telltale signs in your body’s metrics leading up to the attack.
From there, it’s hoped, by learning exactly what symptoms happen before a panic attack, it can detect what’s happening and send you a pre-emptive alert to say that you may be about to suffer a panic attack. Which is pretty cool.
Then, it can suggest ways to prevent the attack from manifesting, suggesting, for instance, that you try the Breathe app.
This is a radical change, similar to the way the heart rate alerts took the Watch’s health capabilities to a whole new level.
So, is there any downside?
Well, one. It looks like this feature is still in its early stages and seems likely to be at least a couple of years off. So, don’t start holding your breath just yet. In fact, maybe do the Breathe app instead.