Apple Watch 8 body temperature sensor – here’s what it could be used for

The Apple Watch 8 is rumored to include a body temperature reader, potentially introducing the first new health sensor to Apple’s smartwatch in two years.

As you may recall, the Apple Watch 6 was the first to take blood oxygen (SpO2) measurements, but the Apple Watch 7 skipped hardware-based health upgrades.

While features like blood pressure monitoring and glucose monitoring are thought to be years away for the Apple Watch, a skin or body temperature reader seems likely, according to recent reports. Apple tipster Markus Gurman said in April that Apple “plans to add a body temperature sensor to the watch as early as this year.”

Gurman is also excited about the new features of watchOS 9, as well as the introduction of the Apple Watch SE 2 and a rugged Apple Watch for outdoor sports. But we are particularly interested in the temperature sensor and what it could mean for the flagship Apple Watch 8. How will it work? Will there be a dedicated body temperature app? Can body temperature readings alert you when something’s wrong?

Of course, any discussion of the Apple Watch 8’s body temperature sensor is speculation at the moment. However, since the Apple Watch is typically the best smartwatch every year, we’re curious to see how it improves or expands on functionality. Here’s what we know so far about the rumored Apple Watch 8 temperature reader and how it’ll hold up against the competition.

Apple Watch 8 body temperature sensor – what will it do?

The answer might seem obvious — the Apple Watch 8’s body temperature sensor measures your body or skin temperature, right? Maybe, but maybe not. Unlike the heart rate and blood oxygen sensors, the Apple Watch 8’s body temperature sensor may not be able to provide instant readings if you’re wondering about your temperature.

According to Gurman, the temperature sensor is used to inform women about fertility or other expected health characteristics. Apple Health has recently stepped up its efforts in women’s health, with the Apple Women’s Health Study shedding light on PCOS and Apple Fitness Plus creating a post-pregnancy workout collection.

research from the Department of Reproductive Endocrinology, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland found that wrist skin temperature can detect ovulation and has a higher true positive rate than basal body temperature. “For women interested in maximizing the chances of conceiving, wrist skin temperature measured continuously during sleep is more sensitive than BBT to detect ovulation,” the study concluded.

Collecting wrist skin temperature data from the Apple Watch seems like a practical way for Apple Health to further contribute to women’s health monitoring. It would easily make the Apple Watch 8 one of the best smartwatches for women. Since users who cannot or do not want to track fertility will not benefit from it, the application of the sensor sounds somewhat limited.

Reading skin temperature while sleeping could offer a good middle ground for all users. In watchOS 8, Apple Watch sleep tracking added respiratory rate (or respiratory rate) to the cumulative sleep data.

Perhaps temperature sensors will be expanded to include on-demand skin temperature readings or proactive notifications in later watchOS updates or future releases. For example, an above-average skin temperature could indicate illness, stress, or even ailments that you may not be aware of.

Apple Watch 8 compared to the competition

A body temperature sensor for a smartwatch or health wearable is not revolutionary. Some of the best fitness trackers like Whoop 4.0 and Oura Ring Generation 3 can monitor your skin temperature related to readiness and recovery. If your skin temperature is abnormally high, it may mean you are ill or have stepped out of your normal routine. The Oura Ring even recommends taking a rest day if it detects a change in temperature.

Two of the best Fitbit models – Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Charge 5 – also have skin temperature sensors. These devices track your skin temperature overnight to see if the readings deviate from your personal baseline, which could be a sign of illness or other conditions.

Users with a Fitbit Premium subscription can also view more detailed information about skin temperature variation trends. When comparing Apple Watch and Fitbit, Fitbit has a consistent advantage in sleep-tracking capabilities, but skin or body temperature readings for Apple Watch 8 could tip the scales.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 doesn’t have a skin temperature reader, but it does Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is too tilted to read skin temperature. Coupled with potentially approaching FDA approval for its existing blood pressure sensor, Samsung’s smartwatch could beat the Apple Watch 8 in terms of health features.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the Apple Watch 8, and if last year rumors disappointment was a lesson, we have to be skeptical about reports from third parties. Still, it feels like we need a new health sensor in the next-gen Apple Watch – if not a body temperature reader, then maybe something else.

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