One of the rumors swirling around the Apple Watch 8 is that it'll feature body temperature monitoring capabilities – and one of the most well-respected sources in the business has weighed in to say the feature could still arrive on Apple's 2022 smartwatch.
Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple is still working on perfecting the algorithms for body temperature monitoring, to ensure accurate readings from the incoming data. If those algorithms meet the required standard, the Apple Watch 8 will get the feature.
"The challenge in implementing precise body temperature measurement is that skin temperature quickly varies depending on outside environments," says Kuo. "A smartwatch can't support core temperature measurement in terms of hardware, so it needs an excellent algorithm to work together."
(1/3)Apple canceled body temperature measurement for Apple Watch 7 because the algorithm failed to qualify before entering EVT stage last year. I believe Apple Watch 8 in 2H22 could take body temperature if the algorithm can meet Apple's high requirements before mass production.May 1, 2022
The wait continues
Kuo goes on to say that Samsung is facing similar algorithm issues with the development of the Galaxy Watch 5 – and apparently that wearable could also miss out on body temperature monitoring if the software analysis isn't up to speed by then.
Seasoned Apple watchers will remember that body temperature monitoring was originally tipped to appear in the Apple Watch 7. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the necessary algorithms just didn't meet the required standard in time.
Since then, several sources have predicted that the 2022 version of the smartwatch will get body temperature sensing. This latest tidbit of information reveals what the hold up is, and indicates that the inclusion or exclusion of the feature is still in the balance right now.
Analysis: pushing the limitations of the hardware
There's no getting around it: smartwatches are small. Manufacturers, including Apple and Samsung, are limited in terms of screen size, battery capacity, and the sensors they can fit because of the small form factor – and that continues to hold back development.
Ming-Chi Kuo has previously predicted body temperature monitoring would come to the Apple Watch 8, but his latest comments show how difficult that's going to be to achieve. More advanced medical monitoring features need more advanced sensors as well as the ability to interpret the data coming in from those sensors.
It's not just body temperature either. The Apple Watch 8 may or may not come with the ability to measure blood pressure and blood glucose – it all depends on how much progress Apple's engineers have been able to make in terms of getting the complex instruments required packed inside a tiny square box.
There's a real possibility that these long-awaited features may not make the cut for 2022 due to technical limitations. While they should arrive eventually, we're seeing how difficult it is for smartwatches to build on what they already offer users.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.