The new Apple Watch series 4 is taking fitness tracking into a new frontier with a number of health tracking features.
Among the most impressive additions is an accelerometer and gyroscope that allow the watch to detect a fall, which triggers a notification that asks the user if they need to call for help.
If movement isn’t detected for over a minute after a fall, the watch will automatically call for emergency services and send a notification to the user’s emergency contact.
The new tech is also equipped with a sensor that can take an electrocardiogram on command, giving a much more detailed reading than the heart rate monitors on previous models and other fitness bands. After the ECG is taken, the watch indicates whether there are signs of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that may indicate heart-related complications.
The recordings are then stored in Apple’s Health App and can be shared with a user’s doctor.
Ivor Benjamin, M.D., a cardiologist and president of the American Heart Association, who helped unveil the product at an event in Cupertino, California on Wednesday, said that the ECG feature could be helpful for doctors, since patients don’t always exhibit symptoms during medical examinations.
The ECG monitor will also alert users if their heart rate spikes or drops down too low.
The tech, however, isn’t meant to be used as a diagnostic tool on its own. A summary document on the product from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the watch “isn’t intended to provide a notification on every episode of irregular rhythm suggestive of AFib and the absence of a notification is not intended to indicate no disease process is present.”
Nevertheless, FDA chief Scott Gottlieb seemed to express enthusiasm about the product’s potential.
“The FDA worked closely with the company as they developed and tested these software products, which may help millions of users identify health concerns more quickly,” he said in a statement. “Health care products on devices like smart watches may help users seek treatment earlier and will truly empower them with more information about their health.”
The new watches will also have a larger screen than previous models, stretching further toward the edges of the watch’s face, making it easier for those looking to use it as another smart device. And despite all the new features crammed into the new tech, Apple says its battery should still last the day.
The new Apple Watch Series 4 will be available for preorder on Sept. 14 starting at $399 for a 40mm model with GPS or $499 with a built in cellular antenna.