Apple boosts health features for new smartwatch

As well as unveiling three new iPhones on Wednesday, Apple revealed new features for its Apple Watch Series 4 that allow users to take their own electrocardiogram or detect a fall.

Apple Watch Series 4 - Photo: Apple

The fourth generation of Apple Watch boasts a major redesign -- and a series of features designed to improve its performance as a medical and health device.

The watch, sold in the United States from $399 and up, will be available in stores on September 21.

"Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health," chief operating officer Jeff Williams said.

The smartwatches include an accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls, and an electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram, described as a first for a wearable device.

"This is the first ECG product offered over the counter directly to consumers," Williams said.

"Now you can take an ECG any time, anywhere, right from the wrist."

The fall detection upgrade is seen as an important feature for elderly or disabled users.

"Identifying a fall may sound like a straightforward problem, but it requires a lot of data analysis," Williams said.

If a person falls, and then is motionless, the watch will call emergency services, he added.

Moorhead said the health features for the new devices were notable.

"I can see kids buying one for their parents and grandparents," he said.

"Apple opened the aperture again and I believe Series 4 will sell better than all previous models."

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