Apple Watch Series 3, WatchOS 4 Announced at Apple Keynote 2017

Tim Cook introduces the Apple Watch

The tech giant also announced that it had partnered with Stanford University's medical department to launch the Apple Heart Study, which would study arrhythmia data tracked by the watch.

Apple is specifically interested in testing whether its wrist wearable can be used to detect atrial fibrilation or abnormal heart rhythms, a source told CNBC. But in some people, a condition known as atrial fibrillation can show no external symptoms while carrying a risk of blood clots, strokes and other complications.

The new Apple Watch features watchOS 4 and includes an updated Heart Rate app that measures heart rate during resting, workout, recovery, walking and Breathe sessions.

On Twitter, Jay Parkinson, M.D., the founder and CEO of the online doctor platform Sherpaa, raised concerns that the partnership between Apple and American Well could lead to unnecessary testing and higher healthcare costs. If a problem is detected, he said, "the best route forward is to put a health care professional out in front".

It'll also track heart rhythm, so wearers will know if they've developed an irregular heart beat, or enable them to monitor existing irregularities.

"We started working on the Apple Watch several years ago", he said, and one goal was "performing some measurements of your health that people were not measuring, at least continually". (You'd use the same phone number, etc.) What he didn't address is the big question of paying for all that data. He claimed that in previous studies, the Apple Watch has been successful in identifying arrhythmia in users. "And yes it is a business opportunity". A device like the Apple Watch just couldn't do enough on its own to justify giving Apple more money for yet another gadget.

CNBC first reported this development in a story posted online yesterday. Stanford did not return a request for comment.



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