What will the next Apple Watch look like?
Apple has taken on some of the chief criticisms against the newly launched Apple Watch and plans to improve both heath and security features.
The Apple Watch may have just started landing on people's wrists within the last month, but Apple is already working on updates to the smartwatch's security features and health tracking among other improvements, according to a published report.
Citing a "proven source," 9to5Mac reports that Apple is looking enhance a number of features for its new smartwatch that will help you track down a missing Apple Watch, monitor everything from blood pressure to glucose levels, and even control the rumored update to the Apple TV from your wrist. It's unclear how soon these features will arrive on the Apple Watch and whether they'll take the form of a software update or require new hardware, but the kinds of features that would be addressed in these updates suggest that Apple is keen to take on some of the initial criticisms of the Apple Watch.
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Take the rumored security improvements, which 9to5Mac says would take the form of a Find My Watch feature, similar to the Find My Phone feature that iOS devices already offer. Such a feature would let you not only track your Watch's location should it go missing, but also remotely lock and wipe it. At present, the Apple Watch lacks the Activation Lock feature found on iOS devices, meaning a thief could wipe and reset the watch without ever needing to enter a passcode.
The security additions to the Apple Watch will reportedly have another benefit -- it can warn you if your iPhone is about to go missing, too. The feature, known as Smart Leashing according to the 9to5Mac report, uses the connection between your Apple Watch and iPhone to notify you with a tap if you're in danger of leaving your phone behind. It's not an unusual feature -- wireless key finders, for example, do much the same thing via Bluetooth connectivity -- but Apple's implementation would use devices you already own instead of a third-party dongle.
In addition to security features, Apple could be looking to expand what the Apple Watch is capable of monitoring. Early versions of the watch were supposed to track blood pressure, heart activity and other conditions, but were removed when they either proved to be too complex or not reliable, the Wall Street Journal reported in February.
Some of those features could be making a comeback, according to 9to5Mac's source. Sleep tracking and blood pressure monitoring are expected in the near term, with blood sugar sensors slated for further down the road. The report also mentions the possibility that your Apple Watch might one day notify you when it detects an irregular heartbeat, though such a feature would likely require regulatory approval, meaning it's a long way from appearing on your smartwatch.
A persistent complaint among Apple Watch users has been the slow performance of third-party apps. A fix appears to be in the works, according to reports, and third-party app makers could soon have access to "Complications" -- the widgets that appear on the Apple Watch face that tell you the weather or your watch's battery life.
Finally, a software update for the Apple Watch could turn the smartwatch into a primary control for the next version of the Apple TV. You can control the current version of the Apple TV through your watch, but Apple is reportedly overhauling its set-top box for a June unveiling, with the Apple Watch serving just one way to control that next-generation device.
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