Future Apple Watch to boast panic attack detection, other mental health features

Future Apple Watch to boast panic attack detection, other mental health features
The Apple Watch Series 5 turned out to be quite disappointing due to its lack of meaningful upgrades. But early reports suggest some pretty major improvements are planned for an unspecified future Apple Watch.

A future Apple Watch will detect panic attacks

Apple is working towards making the Apple Watch and Health app a complete suite for both mental and physical health, according to a report by EverythingApplePro. The Series 4 ECG monitor covered the physical side of things and eventually a new Pulse Oximetry sensor is expected to bring mental health features to the table.

The latter is planned for a debut on the Apple Watch Series 6 and will introduce monitoring for blood oxygen levels. Apple is expected to leverage this information for a range of new mental health features including ones that can detect when the user is stressed or feeling anxious.

One of the more meaningful implementations being planned is reportedly the ability to automatically detect panic attacks, although this may not arrive for another two years. The Apple Watch should learn over time which symptoms occur before and during the panic attack.

Eventually, the goal is to detect panic attacks before they even happen, warn the user beforehand, and offer assistance including breathing exercises and recommendations to pull over while driving, among other things.

To further increase the accuracy of this feature, users should be able to manually input their symptoms. A history of all detected panic attacks that also includes the behavior of the watch before and during will be available too.

A system-wide UI refresh and other internal upgrades this year

Aside from the focus on mental health, Apple is said to be planning a series of other upgrades for the next-gen Apple Watch Series 6. These include improvements to the sensors and support for the faster Wi-Fi 6 standard.

The introduction of Sleep Tracking is reportedly planned too, something that has been rumored for months. Unfortunately, this feature may be a Series 6 exclusive because it reportedly relies on the upcoming battery upgrades.

No external changes to the Apple Watch are planned this year, which isn’t that surprising considering Apple only introduced the current design in 2018, but a system-wide UI refresh for WatchOS 7 is said to be coming. What that entails remains a mystery at this stage, although improvements to Siri are said to be scheduled.

Underwater screen tech could be coming too

Completing the Apple Watch Series 6 package is reportedly going to be new underwater screen tech. As its name suggests, this will give buyers the option of using the wearable underwater or when the screen is wet without any issues.

That should come in especially handy when swimming or doing other watersport activities.

Some reports have suggested Apple could replace the existing OLED panel with a microLED panel this year. That would give the company a chance to test out the technology before bringing it to other devices such as the iPhone and MacBook.

However, Bloomberg believes it isn’t quite ready for primetime and says the tech will instead debut on the Apple Watch Series 7 in 2021. That should coincide with the introduction of Touch ID beneath the display or inside the digital crown.

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