With the launch of the new Watch Series 8 now just weeks away, a new Apple patent reveals how the company is working on a temperature sensor for its best-selling wearable.
Published this month by the US Patent and Trademark Office, the document reveals how Apple is working on a “high-accuracy” temperature sensor that, while not mentioned explicitly, is clearly intended for a future generation of Apple Watch.
It has been rumoured for some time that the Watch Series 8, which is due to arrive with the iPhone 14 in September, will feature a temperature sensor. And, while it isn’t clear for now if the sensor in this patent will appear in the new model, or is intended for a future version, the document sheds light on what Apple has planned for its smartwatch.
First spotted by MyHealthyApple, the patent is titled ‘Temperature gradient sensing in electronic devices,’ and while specific devices aren’t mentioned, an accompanying drawing clearly shows the Apple Watch as an intended use case.
No model of Apple Watch has ever featured a temperature sensor before. And while it is simple enough to record the device’s ambient temperature, relaying an accurate reading of the wearer’s own temperature, in a non-invasive way, is more tricky.
As the patent explains: “The temperature probe is configured to generate a voltage corresponding to a temperature gradient between a first end of the probe and a second end of the probe. The temperature sensor can be disposed within an electronic device housing….In this construction, the temperature sensor can be configured to measure a temperature, at any given sampling time or sampling rate, of any surface or volume to which the sensing surface is exposed.”
If accurate, temperature recording can be used for several health and fitness applications. It can help with ovulation and fertility planning, sleep tracking, and predict the onset of illness, as a rising body temperature can be an indication of an immune system working to fight off an infection.
It has been reported repeatedly that the Watch Series 8 could have a temperature sensor, but it is rare for a newly published Apple patent to result in the technology it describes appearing in a product launched just a few weeks later. Either Apple has purposefully delayed the publishing of this patent, or the document describes a technology intended for a future model, and if the Series 8 does have temperature tracking, it will be done in a different way.