We’re not quite sure when to expect the release of the Apple Watch 2, but new information suggests that it will encompass new features when it hits the stores. If there was an obvious criticism of the very successful first version of the smartwatch it was that Apple failed to satisfactorily define the purpose of the device. And it seems that it is ready to address this with the Apple Watch 2.
Care Event Detection
Forthcoming versions of the Apple Watch may enable users to call out for assistance when in need of urgent care, at least according to a recent patent application. The U.S. Patent Trademark Office published an application Thursday entitled “Care Event Detection and Alerts” with this aim in mind.
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The technology will apparently utilize the sensors of the Apple Watch 2, or indeed any other device that Apple chooses to implement it within, with health-tracking features to send out alerts when the user requires any form of medical assistance. Apple already has some catchy lingo for these situations, describing them as ‘care events’, and suggesting in the text of the patent application that the functionality could be particularly useful for parents and children.
Thus, such incidents listed include car crashes, heart attacks, muggings and and the separation of children from parents. It is clear that Apple believes this feature could have great benefits across a wide range of demographics; something that is essential for the Apple Watch 2 if it is to become a truly mainstream device.
One particular version of the patent indicates that the technology will be capable of tailoring its emergency alerts based on the specific condition of the wearer. It is asserted that the Apple Watch 2 will have the capabilities to issue alerts to immediate family members. But in a particularly serious situation, the Apple Watch will be able to detect a lack of heartbeat, for example, and alert the emergency services directly, accessing 911 and other local emergency contact numbers.
Apple does have technical challenges to solve with this particular innovation, though. The existing Apple Watch does not possess a cellular radio, and thus Apple could choose to utilize the mobile data connection of the iPhone in order to send out alerts effectively. The patent also suggests that other versions of the technology will involve the Apple Watch 2 issuing alerts via what is described as a “mesh network,” by connecting to a nearby device. Finally, if it is impossible to establish communication via phone or wireless data, the alert system also has the potential to default to sending an SMS alert via a GPS device signal.
Apple prolific with patents
While it would obviously be logical for this new system to emerge in the second version of the Apple Watch, Apple is notorious for filing vast amounts of patents that never see the light of day. The research and development department of the California-based company is constantly producing new innovations, and there’s absolutely no guarantee that this particular breakthrough will indeed be included in the Apple Watch 2.
But we do know that it has been available for sometime. Apple filed a patent application for the technology back in September last year, and this would suggest that it has the potential to be implemented when the Apple Watch 2 is released. At one time the second Apple smartwatch was expected to be unveiled in March ahead of an April release date, but this is now generally considered to be unlikely. Apple credits engineers Martha Hankey and James Foster with the invention.
Apple Watch 2 challenges
Apple has numerous questions to answer with the Apple Watch range. Firstly, it is not known how it intends to ensure that previous Apple Watch releases remain relevant. If the corporation is to arm the Apple Watch 2 with improvements over the original, Apple must be careful to ensure that the first iteration of the Apple Watch is not rendered useless.
This also poses questions regarding the release schedule of the Apple Watch, considering that this is typical for Apple to issue updates to its other device ranges on an annual basis. Already it seems likely that Apple will miss the release date that the original Apple Watch received in April last year in 2016, so it is not clear what regular pattern the corporation intends to put in place with the smartwatch range.
The general suggestion in the Apple-following media is that the corporation will release the Apple Watch 2 in the second half of 2016. Does this mean that Apple Watch variants will be released every 18 months? What does it mean for existing Apple Watch consumers? No-one really knows the answers to these questions at this point in time.
Apple has some serious issues to address with the Apple Watch 2 if it is to be the success that the corporation is hoping for, but it is clear that it is planning new features for this major device release.