Guilherme Rambo, for 9to5Mac:
Up until now, Apple Watch Series 4 users who bought their Apple Watch in the US were able to use the ECG feature just fine, provided that they completed the onboarding step on their iPhone first. In this onboarding, the user has to confirm their date of birth and also see some instructions about how ECG works.
A change to this onboarding process suggests that Apple is going to start taking more aggressive measures to prevent usage of the feature in other territories. In iOS 12.2, a new phrase has been added to the bottom of the screen, which says that “During setup, your location will be used to make sure this feature is available in your region.”. Trying to perform the setup on an iPhone without a SIM installed gave the error “Unable to confirm your location. Make sure your iPhone is not in airplane mode and has a working SIM card to proceed”.
Now that I’ve gotten used to having the ECG feature on my US Apple Watch in Europe, I really hope they don’t block it.
Guilherme Rambo, on 9to5Mac:
This limitation is not enforced by hardware, and if you buy an Apple Watch Series 4 in any country, it includes the new sensors. Looking at code within iOS related to the ECG feature, we’ve been able to confirm that its limitation to the US will be based on the software region of the user’s devices (iPhone and Apple Watch).
I wish Apple just required users, in areas of the world without regulatory approval, to understand that the ECG function is for their own personal use and that they shouldn’t bother sharing the information with doctors — a clearly worded pop-up or instructional screen should be sufficient. I don’t plan on switching my region to anything else because this is a hassle in a number of areas (which I don’t recall now but I remember doing it once and a number of things frustrated me).
My new Apple Watch finally made it onto my wrist yesterday. I’m going straight from a steel Series 0 in Space Black to the aluminium Nike+ 44 mm in Space Grey, so this is going to be a huge jump in terms of… everything basically. I’ve only been using the new one for a few hours, but here are a few quick notes on the things I’ve already noticed…
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I was hopeful for new iPads at this event but given how big of an impression the Apple Watch Series 4 made on me, I’m not feeling let down. I will, however, complain about the prices because I consider them to be absurd. Not by much but nevertheless… absurd.
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Katherine Ellen Foley:
The new Apple Watch, however, has the equivalent of one lead on your wrist, the company’s website says. “The tech that Apple is working with is very rudimentary compared to what we’d do for someone in a hospital or health care setting,” Moore said. Although the watch can detect changes in the patterns of a person’s heart rate, these changes really only show a user if she has a heart rate that is too fast, too slow, or beating irregularly—signifying AFib. The watch won’t necessarily give the full picture a doctor would need to diagnose a medical issue […]
Apple got two FDA clearances through a “de novo” pathway, meaning it had to use data to show that its device worked, and that it was safe. For the ECG clearance, the FDA reviewed a study conducted by Apple and Stanford University in California. This study, called the Apple Heart Study included 588 individuals, half of whom had AFib and the other half of whom were healthy. The app was able to identify over 98% of the patients who had AFib, and over 99% of patients that had healthy heart rates. Cardiologists were able to read 90% of the total readings, although about 10% of them were unreadable.
I’m no doctor but those results look pretty impressive.