The Apple Watch was expected to include 10 sensors that would track health and fitness data, but The Wall Street Journal reports some of features were dropped due to reliability issues.
Apple began developing the watch about four years ago, with a focus on health and fitness. It’s not unusual for Apple to experiment with many technologies or shift focus during product development, but the watch was especially challenging, people familiar with the matter said. Internally, the project became known as a “black hole” sucking in resources, one of these people said.
The Apple Watch was to originally boast sensors that measured the conductivity of the wearer’s skin in order to track stress levels and to offer heart-rate monitoring similar to an EKG. Apple had also explored ways to detect a user’s blood pressure or how well oxygenated a user’s blood was.
The skin conductivity features varied in performance, affected by a user’s dry skin or even the amount of hair on their arms. Results would also vary, depending on how tight the device was worn on a user’s arm.
As for the government oversight issues, if Apple had used health data to provide advice on a user’s health, the firm would have needed to seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulators.
Although the features in question were dropped from the first version of the Apple Watch, the WSJ’s sources tell them they could make an appearance in future models.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has confirmed that the Apple Watch will launch in April, and Apple is currently requesting developers to have their apps for the device ready by mid-February. Some developers are reportedly traveling to Cupertino for help with their apps.