A major Apple Watch feature may not arrive until 2024 or later

Apple Watch Series 7 images of watch on test
An Apple Watch 7 (Image credit: TechRadar)

We've been hearing that a future Apple Watch might be able to monitor your blood pressure for a while now, but if you were hoping the Apple Watch 8 or even the Apple Watch 9 would be able to do this, you're probably going to be out of luck.

According to "people with knowledge of the matter" speaking to Mark Gurman (a journalist with a good track record for Apple information) on Bloomberg, the tech giant is facing hurdles in finalizing the feature for the Apple Watch and we may not see it until 2024, or even 2025.

Apparently the feature has been planned for at least four years already, so it's been a long time coming, but accuracy is supposedly proving an issue.

Whenever blood pressure monitoring does arrive, it apparently won't display the actual systolic and diastolic readings (which are the numbers used to assess blood pressure). Instead it will send a notification when it senses the user is showing signs of high blood pressure, so the user will know to consult with a doctor.

This isn't the only Apple Watch feature that might be a long way out either, as the same report states that blood sugar monitoring (which has also previously been rumored) is several years away. Apparently as a stopgap, Apple might improve Apple Watch support for third-party glucose meters.

In the meantime, we might apparently see a body temperature sensor arrive on the Apple Watch 8, while improvements to atrial fibrillation detection, which would allow the watch to tell you how often you're in a state of atrial fibrillation across a certain period, could land with watchOS 9.

watchOS 9 might also include a new low power mode which lets you still access apps, plus improved sleep tracking, medicine management, and new women’s health features, along with new workout types and metrics.

Opinion: small upgrades when we need big shifts

This isn't the first time that we've heard blood pressure monitoring could still be a way off, but it's disappointing all the same, as it's sounding increasingly like the Apple Watch 8 will only be a small upgrade - at least when it comes to health and fitness.

In many ways the Apple Watch 7 was also just a small upgrade, essentially being little more than an Apple Watch 6 with a slightly bigger screen, so if Apple hopes to maintain enthusiasm for the range it really needs to pack in some big new features.

Perhaps the rumored body temperature sensor will be enough for some, while the rumored rugged Apple Watch is sure to appeal to certain people too, but these both feel a bit niche. What's really needed is a flashy new feature for the main Apple Watch 8, and so far it doesn't sound like we'll get one.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.

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