Monday, June 1, 2015

Apple Watch Heart Rate Sensor Errors

Kirk McElhearn:

Now, Apple has updated a technical document about how the heart rate sensor works. They are no longer saying that the Apple Watch reads your heart rate every ten minutes; instead, they say this:

Apple Watch attempts to measure your heart rate every 10 minutes, but won’t record it when you’re in motion or your arm is moving.

This is quite surprising. Why wouldn’t it take a reading when you’re in motion? After all, the goal of a fitness tracker is to motivate you to be active. This means that the Apple Watch cannot make any claim to realistically calculate your activity based on your heart rate.

Update (2015-06-02): Kirk McElhearn:

To many users, it looks like Apple pulled a bait-and-switch, promising a certain feature and not delivering it. Apple needs to say whether the change is because of faulty heart rate sensors – which means they have a bigger issue – or because of battery life. And if it’s the latter, they should allow users to choose whether or not the Apple Watch checks their heart rate every ten minutes. Let users decide how they want their battery usage to work.

However, if the heart rate sensors are faulty, simply turning them off, after promising this feature, is a mistake. They should fix them, whether through a software update, or by exchanging the devices. They promised a feature, and they can’t simply pretend that they never did so.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Wow that basically makes it useless for athletics. Kind of shocked. That was the only compelling feature for me - although it wasn't as compelling since you still needed your phone for GPS. Now I really don't see the advantage of the watch over a Bluetooth chest harness for heart rate.

Here's hoping the sensors are better in 2.0. Glad I didn't get one.

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