What it does and when will it be available in New Zealand
You may have read, or seen a lot of information regarding the new Apple Watch Series 4 and ECG. A feature which allows you to take an electrocardiogram right from your wrist – the first direct-to-consumer product to do so.
I’ve been asked a lot of questions on this. From what it does, how can we use it, and when will it be available in New Zealand? The purpose of this post is to answer those.
New electrodes in Apple Watch Series 4 enable it to take an ECG directly from your wrist. This means it as the ability to capture heart rhythm in moments where you experience symptoms such as a rapid or skipped heartbeat. This information is then recorded and the data can be displayed at any time or sent to your physician.
In addition to this, the Apple Watch can occasionally check your heart rhythm in the background. If it detects an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (AFib), it will alert you. AFib is one of the leading conditions that can result in stroke, the second most common cause of death around the world.
The good news is the ECG hardware and ability of an Apple Watch Series 4 to perform the measurement is included in models sold here. But unfortunately, Apple has not enabled it here (or in Australia), although they can easily do so in the future with a software update.
Essentially, at some point, it is possible Apple will push out an update to enable the feature here, as they have recently done in the US. And if they were to do so I will be sure to update this article. The reason they have not done so yet is likely for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Apple had to work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a number of years to receive De Novo Classification. Meaning it will likely require medical approval here too. Secondly, the feature is only very new, it is likely Apple will want to launch it in one market first before going worldwide. Already though it has gone on to potentially save someone’s life.
Despite this, the Apple Watch has a number of health and exercise tracking features available here. Including the ability to record your workouts, heart-rate, fall-detection, calories burned, and a whole lot more.
You can learn more or buy an Apple Watch from Apple’s online store.
Update (March, 2019): Apple has expanded the ECG feature to a number of European countries, and Hong Kong. While Australia has still not received the feature, the expansion shows Apple is actively bringing the ECG feature outside of the US.