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Apple brings new era of health monitoring

The technology in smartwatches has come a long way since the early days of wearables when rudimentary step and calorie counters were about as advanced as the devices got. Now, a new generation of devices is ushering in heart-, sleep- and blood-monitoring functions that push the accuracy of laboratory equipment to your wrist.

The new generation of functions could kick-start the smartwatch category, which has failed to live up to the technology industry’s high hopes. High-end devices are taking over from basic fitness trackers, which¬†analysts say¬†is an indication that users want devices that can do more than just count our steps. Better health capabilities could give users, particularly those with medical problems, a reason to strap the devices to their wrist.

“If [a wearable is] helping you manage a medical condition, it probably will turn out to be a durable utility,” says Eric Topol, executive vice president at Scripps Research, a nonprofit scientific institute. The time-stamped data wearables gather can be helpful when formulating a treatment, he says, because it’s collected in the real world rather than in a contrived, laboratory environment.



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