iOS 12.2 Suggests ECG App May Be Coming to UK and Other European Countries With watchOS 5.2

After installing iOS 12.2, some Apple Watch Series 4 owners in the UK are seeing new ECG screens that suggest ECG functionality will expand to the Apple Watch in the country when watchOS 5.2 is released.

MacRumors readers Sam and Chris have seen ECG setup screens in the Apple Watch and Health apps on the iPhone after installing iOS 12.2. The app is not, however, available on the Apple Watch in the UK right now because Apple hasn't yet released watchOS 5.2, which is likely required for the feature to work.


There's new documentation in the Health app in iOS 12.2 under ECG's "Instructions for Use" that also hints at upcoming support for the UK and other European countries:

  • For US Regions: The ECG app is available on Apple Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5.1.2 or later, paired with iPhone 5s or later or iOS 12.1.1 or later.

  • For non-US regions: The ECG app is available on Apple Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5.2 paired with iPhone 5s or iOS 12.2 or later.


There's also a new CE mark for the ECG feature in iOS 12.2 in the same document, which, as 9to5Mac points out, indicates that Apple may be planning to expand ECG functionality to all European Economic Area countries that use the CE certification mark.




It's not yet clear when Apple will launch watchOS 5.2, but with iOS 12.2 already available, it could be coming in the near future. Apple has not updated the list of countries where ECG features are available, but it could be changed once watchOS 5.2 sees a release.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Tag: ECG
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Launches New Spring Colors for iPhone Cases and Apple Watch Bands

Alongside the second generation of AirPods, Apple today refreshed its iPhone case and Apple Watch band lineup for spring. In Silicone cases for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max you can now choose from Spearmint, Papaya, and Delft Blue.


The iPhone XS Smart Battery Case is now available in a Pink Sand color option, after first launching in just White and Black.


iPhone XS Leather Cases are gaining Cornflower, Sunset, and Lilac. The same colors can be found for iPhone XS Max Leather Cases, iPhone XS Leather Folio, and iPhone XS Max Leather Folio.


Apple Watch Sport Bands are also matching the new iPhone case colors in Spearmint, Delft Blue, and Papaya. You can get these in 40mm or 44mm to fit all previous generations of Apple Watch and Apple Watch Series 4.


In Sport Loop there is Papaya, Cerulean, Spearmint, and Lilac as well. Just like Sport Bands, these are available in both 40mm and 44mm sizes.


The Nike Sport Band lineup also updated with Black/Hyper Grape, Spruce Fog/Vintage Lichen, and Teal Tint/Tropical Twist. These bands are made with the same fluoroelastomer as Apple's Sport Bands.


There are also new Nike Sport Loop bands, in Spruce Fog, Teal Tint, Hyper Grape, Summer White, and Black.


New Modern Buckle colors include Cornflower, Lilac, and Sunset. These join new Leather Loop colors in Cornflower and Sunset as well.


Lastly, new Hermès options include Rose Sakura/Craie/Argile Swift Leather Double Tour, Bleu Lin/Craie/Bleu du Nord Swift Leather Double Tour, and Etoupe Swift Leather Double Tour. Single Tour bands get the same new colorways.


Head to Apple.com to purchase the cases and bands, and check out our post on the second generation of AirPods for more information on Apple's latest wireless headphones.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5, iPhone XS

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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of watchOS 5.2 to Developers

Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming watchOS 5.2 update to developers, one week after seeding the fifth watchOS 5.2 beta and two months after releasing watchOS 5.1.3.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.


To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

The watchOS 5.2 update introduces a set of new Hermès watch faces. The watch faces are available in pink and blue, and feature a gradient-style design that changes much like other Hermès watch faces. There are customizable numbers and an option for a single complication.


There could be changes coming to the way the ECG feature works in other countries. In iOS 12.2 and watchOS 5.2, when setting up a new Apple Watch, Apple is using location to make sure the ECG feature is available in a particular region, suggesting the company may be planning to geofence ECG functionality and limit it to the United States.

This would potentially prevent customers who purchased a U.S. Apple Watch but live in another country from using the ECG feature. Location is verified via SIM card and can't be bypassed during Apple Watch setup.

We haven't seen any other major changes in watchOS during the beta testing period, but we'll get a better look at what's included when Apple releases watchOS 5.2 to the public complete with release notes. We're expecting Apple to release watchOS 5.2 alongside iOS 12.2, tvOS 12.2, and macOS 10.14.4 following the company's March 25 event.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Over 2,000 Participants Received Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification in Apple Watch Study

Stanford Medicine researchers presented their findings of the Apple Heart Study at the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session and Expo in New Orleans today, as noted by Apple in a press release.



Apple and Stanford created the study to evaluate the Apple Watch‘s irregular heart rhythm notification feature, which occasionally checks the wearer’s heart rhythm in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm appears to be suggestive of atrial fibrillation.

419,093 people across the United States participated in the study. As part of the study, if an irregular heart rhythm was identified, participants received a notification on their Apple Watch and iPhone, a phone consultation with a doctor, and an ECG patch for additional monitoring.

Study results showed 0.5 percent of participants – approximately 2,095 people – received an irregular heart rhythm notification. Apple says “many participants sought medical advice following their irregular rhythm notification.”

Apple COO Jeff Williams:

We are proud to work with Stanford Medicine as they conduct this important research and look forward to learning more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community. We hope consumers will continue to gain useful and actionable information about their heart health through Apple Watch.

Apple announced the Heart Study in collaboration with Stanford back in November 2017 and stopped accepting new participants in August 2018.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Seeds Fifth Beta of watchOS 5.2 to Developers

Apple today seeded the fifth beta of an upcoming watchOS 5.2 update to developers, one week after seeding the fourth watchOS 5.2 beta and over a month after releasing watchOS 5.1.3.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.


To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

The watchOS 5.2 update introduces a set of new Hermès watch faces. The watch faces are available in pink and blue, and feature a gradient-style design that changes much like other Hermès watch faces. There are customizable numbers and an option for a single complication.


There were no other major changes discovered in watchOS with the release of the first four, but we'll update this post should we find new features or major tweaks worth noting in the fifth. We may not know the full extent of the changes in watchOS 5.2 until we get a public release with Apple's release notes.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Watch Bands Begin Selling Out Ahead of Probable Spring 2019 Refresh

Apple Watch bands have been refreshed on a seasonal basis for the past few years, and it looks like that trend will continue in spring 2019, as many of the current fall 2018 bands are now out of stock on Apple's online store.


Fall 2018 bands now listed as sold out:
  • 40mm and 44mm Sport Bands in Hibiscus, Mellow Yellow, and Pacific Green, plus 40mm in Blue Horizon
  • 40mm and 44mm Nike Sport Bands in Olive Flak/Black and Smokey Mauve/Particle Beige
  • 40mm Sport Loops in Cape Cod Blue and Nectarine
  • 40mm Nike Sport Loop in Smokey Mauve
  • 44mm Leather Loops in Forest Green
  • 40mm Modern Buckles in Cape Cod Blue, Forest Green, and Peony Pink
  • 40mm Hermès Double Tours in Indigo/Craie/Orange and Bordeaux/Rose Extrême/Rose Azalée
Apple could unveil its spring 2019 bands in a press release on March 21, the first day of spring, as it did last year. Apple is also expected to host a March 25 event, but little to no hardware is expected. Either way, we're likely a few weeks away from new bands if another refresh is planned.

Apple likes to brighten up its Apple Watch bands in the spring, although not quite as much as its vibrant summer bands. Spring 2018 colors included Lemonade, Red Raspberry, Denim Blue, Soft Pink, Spring Yellow, and others. Sport, Sport Loop, and Woven Nylon bands are $49 and Classic Buckles are $149.

All bands are compatible with every generation of the Apple Watch.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of watchOS 5.2 to Developers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming watchOS 5.2 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the third watchOS 5.2 beta and over a month after releasing watchOS 5.1.3.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.


To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

The watchOS 5.2 update introduces a set of new Hermès watch faces, as discovered by French site WatchGeneration. The watch faces are available in pink and blue, and feature a gradient-style design that changes much like other Hermès watch faces. There are customizable numbers and an option for a single complication.


There were no other major changes discovered in watchOS with the release of the first three betas, but we'll update this post should we find new features or major tweaks worth noting in the fourth.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Watch Sales Comprised Half of Smartwatch Market in 2018

Apple Watch maintained pole position in the smartwatch market over last year's fourth quarter as global smartwatch shipments continued to grow, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.


Apple shipped 9.2 million Apple Watch units during Q4 2018, according to the report, rising 18 percent from 7.8 million units in Q4 2017. Global smartwatch shipments meanwhile grew 56 percent annually to reach a record 18 million units in the same quarter.

Apple's global smartwatch marketshare actually slipped to 51 percent this quarter, down from 67 percent a year ago, but Apple held on to first position with a 51 percent global smartwatch marketshare, while Samsung jumped to second place, overtaking Fitbit and Garmin.

The research corroborates an earlier report from consumer research firm The NPD Group that Apple Watch is the "clear market leader" in the U.S. smartwatch market, but it also underlines the growing threat of rivals like Samsung, which continues to invest heavily in wearables that are compatible with both Android devices and iPhones.
"Apple's global smartwatch marketshare slipped to 51 percent this quarter, down from 67 percent a year ago," said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. "Apple Watch is losing marketshare to Samsung and Fitbit, whose rival smartwatch portfolios and retail presence have improved significantly in the past year."
Apple doesn't reveal Apple Watch unit sales from its overall earnings. But in a recent earnings call for the first quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, CEO Tim Cook said the company's wearables revenue was being driven by the "amazing popularity" of Apple Watch and AirPods, and that the category was "approaching the size of a Fortune 200 company."

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple to Add Sleep-Tracking Features to Apple Watch by 2020

Apple is said to be testing a sleep tracking app for a future Apple Watch, according to a new report today filed by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

The company has been using the sleep-tracking feature for several months with testers at secret sites around its Cupertino, California, headquarters, according to people familiar with the work. If the functionality is successful in the testing stages, the company plans to add it to the Apple Watch by 2020, according to one of the people.
Rival smartwatches from the likes of Fitbit have long touted sleep-tracking capabilities, but Apple's watchOS has never offered a native sleep tracking feature. Initially, this was for good reason: battery life on the first Apple Watch rarely lasted beyond the advertised 18 hours, meaning the device had to be perched on a charging dock as you slept.

However, since the release of the Series 3 and 4 models, many owners find their smartwatches can last two full days or more on a single charge, which has led third-party developers to step in with sleep-tracking apps.

Future Apple Watch models could well have improved battery life, enabling users to wear them for longer and track time in bed. Alternatively, Gurman speculates that overnight sleep-tracking could even feature as part of a special new low-power mode.

Apple's iOS Health app already includes a tab for sleep analysis data, which is pulled from either the alarm clock function in the iPhone's Clock app or a third-party sleep-tracking app.

Apple has dipped its toes in sleep-tracking before. The company acquired Finnish startup Beddit, which makes a sleep-tracking sensor strip. Apple sells the product on its website under the Beddit brand and recently launched an updated version.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Customer Emails to Tim Cook Said to Have Helped Shape Apple Watch Development

During his time as Apple CEO, Steve Jobs was well known for personally responding to some of the customer emails he received, which has even led to some of his best replies being collected in a book.

Customers who email current Apple CEO Tim Cook also occasionally receive responses, and a CNBC report over the weekend reveals how these emails are processed and often shared with other executives within Apple.
According to people familiar with how the process works, Cook has an assistant whose job it is to read the mail, forward some to him for personal attention, and share others to a group distribution list of executives on the relevant teams. They forward the letters to their reports, and so on down the chain. Many of these "Dear Tim" letters are ultimately passed around by rank-and-file employees, according to one current and two former employees.
In an example of how customer emails can influence product decisions, the report highlights how some of these messages played a particularly influential role in the development of the Apple Watch.
After the Apple Watch launched in 2015, the company promoted a variety of features on it, including communications, entertainment, and health and fitness tracking. But then the missives started pouring in from users, describing how the device alerted them to potentially serious medical conditions and even saved lives. After this, Apple began shifting the emphasis of the watch more toward health features.
One former Apple employee reportedly described the emails as a "surprise," given that the Apple Watch wasn't developed to pick up heart-rate irregularities at the time. Another former employee said similar emails showed Apple that the device could have a more positive impact on health than anyone at the company had previously realized.

The report also goes on to note how the emails often help to maintain staff morale, especially for those employees who don't have an external-facing role and can't talk about the products they're working on. You can read the full full article here.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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