As part of its ongoing partnership with (Red) — a brand dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS — Apple has released an all-red version of the Apple Watch Series 9, alongside some exclusive watch faces to mark World AIDS Day.
The watch joins existing (Product) Red variants for the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 13, and iPhone SE, but there’s no sign of the new iPhone 15 series joining the lineup.
In a blog post, Google detailed the Messages improvements, some nice Wear OS and accessibility updates, and more. With Wear OS, for example, you’ll soon be able to set home or away statuses in Google Home, which could be handy if you forget to change your status when you leave the house.
watchOS 10 brought a lot of change to the Apple Watch interface. One casualty was swiping to switch watchfaces — a move that I’ve seen lots of folks bemoan on social media. Well, good news. The watchOS 10.2 dev and public betas are bringing it back as an option that you can toggle on or off. Everybody wins!
Bloomberg has a sprawling report out today on the ups and downs of Apple’s health tech ambitions. One tidbit that caught my eye was the how the first Apple Watch was meant to include noninvasive blood glucose monitoring and blood pressure... but ultimately didn’t. I wrote a whole thing about why this is such a Herculean task, which you can read below. But the gist wearable makers have to toe a fine line between medical device and wellness gadget and Apple has been no exception.
On Thursday, the US International Trade Commission found that Apple violated a patent held by medical tech company Masimo related to measuring blood-oxygen levels.
A limited exclusion order has been placed on certain Apple Watches sporting the contested tech, but Apple still has several means to avoid imports to the US being banned — including software alterations and the decision being overruled by the Biden administration.
If you’ve been annoyed by watchOS 10’s penchant for blank weather complications... good news. Apple says that updating to the watchOS 10.1 public release will fix that issue and has published a support document on the issue. If updating doesn’t work, the document also gives you some troubleshooting instructions.
That’s according to a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers reported on by MacRumors. The memo doesn’t say which watches this is an issue with, but users have reported flickering problems with the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and the Apple Watch Series 9.
The ECG App is now available for Epix Pro series, Fenix 7 Pro series, Venu 3 series, and Tactix 7 watches to record heart rhythm and check for signs of AFib. The app lets you perform a 30-second electrocardiogram (ECG, or EKG if you prefer its Germanic origins) and view the results immediately. As usual, DesFit has all the details on his YouTube channel.
The new Pixel Watch 2 charges faster than the original, but after a new firmware update, it now charges much, much faster. Google says the original Pixel Watch will now take 45 minutes to reach 50 percent instead of 30, and 75 minutes to reach 80 percent. You can expect a full charge to take 110 minutes.
Meanwhile, it takes 30 minutes for the Pixel Watch 2 to hit 50 percent, and 75 min for a full charge. In practice, I never needed more than 45-60 minutes. Some folks have been disappointed by the second-gen watch’s switch to pin charging, but to me the faster charging is well worth it.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says it “won’t happen” in 2024 and “possibly” won’t arrive in 2025, either. That’s not a huge surprise — my colleague Victoria Song wrote a piece in March about the challenges facing noninvasive blood glucose monitoring, so it’s not surprising that the technology might be very far away even for Apple.
Kuo also says that we might not see an Apple Watch with a Micro LED screen until 2025 or 2026.
According to leaker Max Jambor, OnePlus is gearing up to release a new smartwatch next year with a round display. It’ll follow the “big, basic, and boring” OnePlus Watch in 2021, and last year’s affordable and India-exclusive OnePlus Nord Watch. Parent company Oppo is also rumored to be working on a round-faced smartwatch of its own, coincidence?
Samsung says its Galaxy Watch series will be getting a sleep apnea feature early next year after getting cleared by Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. It’ll be part of Samsung’s Health Monitor app and users only need to track their sleep twice for at least four hours in a 10 day period.
That’s neat! But it’s also limited to Korean users. For that feature to work in the US, it’d need to go through the FDA clearance process — and that can take a very, very long time. Just ask Fitbit. It’s been working on a similar capability since 2017 and we’re still waiting.