WSJ: Apple scrapped many advanced health features for Apple Watch

A new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that Apple had initially envisioned the Watch with a focus on health and fitness monitoring. The company pictured its upcoming Watch as a device which could automatically detect the heartbeat, blood pressure, stress levels, and more of its user.

The publication’s sources state that executives at the Cupertino-based company had envisioned a full-fledged health monitor, but many plans were scrapped after reliability and complexity came into play, perhaps paving way for features that could be found in a second-generation of the Watch due out in April.

Features that Apple had planned included monitors that could measure blood pressure, heart activity and stress levels, among other things, “according to people familiar with the matter.” After the plans were scrapped, it lead Apple with trying to figure out the purpose for the Apple Watch, and why customers would want to buy it.

Originally Apple wanted to advertise it as the one-stop medical device. Now that it’s unveiled, Apple is branding the Apple Watch as the device for information at a glance, Apple Pay, limited health monitoring like glucose levels, and apps.

Apple began developing the watch about four years ago, with a focus on health and fitness. It’s not unusual for Apple to experiment with many technologies or shift focus during product development, but the watch was especially challenging, people familiar with the matter said. Internally, the project became known as a “black hole” sucking in resources, one of these people said.
“One of the biggest surprises people are going to have when they start using it is the breadth of what it will do,” Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said last week at an investor conference. Furthermore, he told the attendees that company executives at meetings will all get up at the same time, because all of their Apple Watches are going off due to their inactivity.

Apple might have been forced to remove quite a lot of health-monitoring features from the Apple Watch, but WSJ’s sources indicate that the company might include them in future versions as the sensor technology improves.

WSJ’s sources also indicate that Apple has asked its suppliers to manufacture five-six million units of the Apple Watch for the first quarter after its launch with nearly half the ordered units consisting of the entry level Apple Watch Sports and one-third for the stainless-steel variant with sapphire crystal protecting the display.

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